Attorney: Commissioners' actions on school board relocation may violate state law
Funds' shift required OK of school board
Hugh G. Willett knoxnews.com
LOUDON — Actions by the Loudon County Commission to transfer and allocate funds to move the county’s school offices may have violated state law, according to an attorney representing the school board.
Chuck Cagle, who represents the Tennessee School Board Association and other school panels across the state, met with the Loudon County school board in a special called workshop Monday.
Commissioners did not have the authority to allocate $800,000 earlier this month for renovations and upgrades to the Loudon County Technical Center, according to Cagle. Funding for an architectural study ordered by the commission may also have been illegal, he said.
If County Commission intends to use money from the Adequate Facilities Tax or any money allocated for school buildings, it must first have approval from the majority of the school board, he said. The same law would apply to a $1.3 million “loan” the commissioners approved last July for renovation and expansion of county offices.
Cagle also said that county offices must be located within the county seat, which is the city of Loudon, he said. The proposed new school offices are on Harrison Road in the north end of the county.
Commission and the school board could still come to an agreement that involves moving into the Loudon County Technical Center, Cagle said. Precedent exists where, for specific reasons, the school offices can be moved out of the county seat.
Board members agreed to authorize Cagle to speak with the attorney representing the county before deciding to take any further action.
Commissioner Bob Franke made the motion earlier this month for the transfer of funds. He doesn’t see the actions as illegal. “What we are trying to do is properly manage the taxpayer’s money,” he said.
In June, commissioners, in examining a $400,000 request from the school board, determined the technical center needed $800,000 to make the building ready for greater utilization, Franke said.
Simultaneously, the commission was looking at an expansion of the county offices. It was determined that the county could save money by asking the school system’s offices to move to the technical center so that the space vacated by the district could be used for expanding county offices, he said.