Get Out II

Even though the Loudon County Board Of Education adopted a resolution and sent it to the commission asking them not to kick them out of their offices, Monday night, the Loudon County commission, unbelievably, voted to boot the school board offices out of the county office building.

Click Here To Read The Letter From the school board to the commission.

They have to be out by July 1st, 2014. Commission also approved spending $800,000.00 for the move. The strange part is, they told the school board they had to pay for the move. Commission did at least tell the board they could decide where they wanted to get the money from the education budget.

Aside from all the obvious issues, not the least is the colossal waste of money, we've discussed with this move, there are several questions that are troubling.

State law pertaining to moving the BOE to Lenoir City has been discussed. But according to Mayor Herron, based on what the county attorney told her, the law doesn't apply. Just hard to figure out why.

TCA 5-7-105.  Location of county buildings and courthouse, jail, workhouse and county highway department garage -- Interlocal agreements.

  (a) The courthouse and all county buildings provided by the county for the county officers shall be erected within the limits of the county town...(county seat)

This seems to state pretty clearly that the school board office(rs) must be located in the city limits of the city of Loudon. Forget that though.

The next question would be, does the county commission really have the authority to kick the school board to the curb. If so, could they also kick the sheriff out of the Justice Center or the judge out of the court house? If they do in fact have that authority could they come back next year and kick the board out of the old vocational building?  I'm sure commission is hanging it's hat on TCA 5-5-121 that gives the commission "control" of county buildings. Not sure "control" means they can dictate to another entire autonomous segment of county government.

What if in a year or two commission decided they wanted to use the old vocational building, now the school board offices, lets say for storage for their military humvees, patrol boats and armored personal carriers, could they them make the school board move again? Maybe to portable trailers out on the board's Hwy 321 property? Just a thought.

So where can the school board get the $800,000.00 seed money to make the move, fix the roof and remodel the old vocational building? The likely source is the Adequate Schools Facility Tax, ASTF. That tax was passed exclusively and specifically on new residential development with the revenues to be used exclusively and specifically to alleviate school facility problems caused by new residential development. By the intent of the law that created the ASFT, that money couldn't and certainly shouldn't be used to relocate a half dozen administrators.

A few more questions.

Who's building is it anyway. For most of it's life it was a school building before it became the county office building sometime after 1984. The property Assessor's office identifies the building as LOUDON COUNTY OFFICE BUILDING showing the last date it changed owners was 1955 when the board of education bought the property to build the school. No change of ownership is shown since then.

Several years ago when the county commission was arguing with the school board administrators over the use of the conference room, I was told by a board official that the building belonged to the school board and they had an agreement that only allowed the county officials to use "their" end of the building, that essentially the school board was letting the county use their, the school board's, building. This would be fun if that agreement really exists and could be found.

School board members are elected the same as commissioners with many of the same duties including control over their buildings and property. Could maybe the school board vote to evict the county commission and their offices from the LOUDON COUNTY OFFICE BUILDING especially if the board still owns the building.

Is this not an unfunded mandate some commissioners are always railing about? What if the school board refuses to move out? Who's going to make them?

This whole matter is such an, in your face, waste of money aimed right at the tax payers no matter where the money ultimately comes from. But if the school board rolls over for this one they may one day find themselves meeting in hallways or bathrooms or where ever else commission assigns them to.