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School to be maintained with local funds

At its January regular meeting, the McDuffie County Board of Education adopted two resolutions that complement each other.

The Thomson Elementary School Resolution is a request to the Georgia Department of Education to phase out Thomson Elementary from the state's records. In doing so, the county relinquishes the state's financial responsibility of the TES building and will maintain it with local funds. The school will remain open and under its normal function as a school for second and third grades.

"It will allow more state funding for a new Norris Elementary School, which will be a component in our five-year plan," Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services Jim Franklin said. "Because Thomson Elementary will no longer earn classroom unit space from the state, it will actually double the money for the new Norris."

When school board member Ella Mae Samuels expressed concern if TES would be well maintained, Dr. Franklin said the building is "in good shape" and would be maintained just like the Pine Street school has been. Dr. Franklin said the recommendation came from Georgia School Boards Association's Bill Loudermilk.

"We feel we are not receiving from the state potentially enough to maintain the building anyway," Superintendent Jim LeBrun said. "This action is not a new concept. We always want to try to maximize the state dollars."

In the second resolution, the school board withdrew its application for more than $2 million in state funds for construction of a new Norris Elementary School. Because there is a 2-year limit on when the money could be used and the county does not yet have sufficient funds to start construction, Dr. Franklin said the system will withdraw the application and re-apply for the money at a later date.

A new Norris Elementary Building has been on the system's plans for several years because the current building does not meet state codes. The several million dollars it would cost to bring the building up to code would be better used on a new building, Mr. LeBrun said.

Web posted on Thursday, February 25, 2010

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