LCEF Director Resigns
|Betsy Morrow, director of the
Loudon County Education Foundation
has submitted her resignation effective June 15th. Morrow's contract was
set to expire in June. A new contract was offered to Ms. Morrow by the
LCEF board but apparently she made the decision to resign rather than to
renew her contract. The foundation is planning to seek a new director.
The foundation has been the center of what has become a state wide issue. The Loudon County Board Of Education has been donating money to the foundation for several years. Last year the board made the decision to cut that donation from the budget. However after the budget was adopted, a majority of the board voted to reinstate the $16,000 annual donation. Myself and board member Lisa Russell objected to the donation and voted no on the proposal.
It was highly likely that it was illegal for the BOE to make donations to nonprofits and the foundation failed to provide any financial information to the board and had not had an audit of their finances since 2004.
Shortly after the vote to reinstate the $16,000 donation, board member, Lisa Russell, requested through state representative Jimmy Matlock an attorney general opinion as to whether a school board was permitted to make donations to nonprofits. The answer from the OAG was NO. BOE's may not donate money to nonprofits.
Both the director of Lenoir City schools Wayne Miller, and Loudon County schools, Wayne Honeycutt, have continued to defend donations to the the LCEF maintaining that their services are worthwhile. Miller has even been working on special state legislation that would allow the two school systems to continue to donate to the foundation.