A History Of Odd Decisions

Even though board members have changed and the director has changed, the Loudon County Board Of Education has a history of making some odd decisions. The latest being the budget.

In January the board voted in a 7-3 vote to embark on a much needed, long over due building program. The board voted for a building plan that was functional and financially feasible and when completed would alleviate the schools worst over crowding and eliminate some dilapidated buildings. The thirty million dollar program would not require any increases in taxes to implement. As they say, a win win for everybody.

In May, the Loudon County Commission voted to spend up to $1,000,000.00 on the architectural plans for the building program. Much of that money has already been spent.

Fast forward to August and we find the board taking another vote. This time the vote could essentially kill the building program. With full knowledge that any increase in the operating budget would negatively impact the building program, it was thought that the board would work hard to bring the operating budget in as low as possible and hopefully even be able to contribute to the building program. Surprisingly, it was not to be. Director of School, Wayne Honeycutt, presented several potential budget proposals over the last few weeks. Each new budget proposal continued to grow larger and larger. Honeycutt's final proposed budget had grown to include more than $800,000.00 in new operating expenses. If adopted, a budget of this size would all but assure the death of the building program. The final budget adopted by the board included $793,000.00 in new spending which included new personal, raises and text books but no cuts.

  • Unfortunately, this is not the first odd decision by the board. A couple of years ago, the board voted for a hundred million dollar building program, spent several hundred thousand dollars on plans then shelved those plans.
  • Paid 2.2 million dollars for a piece of property on Hwy. 321. This was nearly a million dollars more than the developer paid for the property a week earlier.
  • The board has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for class room trailers instead of building additions.
  • Implemented expensive programs of low or no value without adequate funding or facilities to accommodate the programs.
  • Donating $16,000.00 to a non-profit organization while struggling to meet budget.  

The list could go on and on. As a member of the public looking in I couldn't understand much of the board's rational. Now as a board member on the inside, I must admit I still don't understand the board's rational.