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School property fails on tie vote
Commission votes 7-7 on amendment
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The DeKalb County Commission split 7-7 Monday night on a vote to approve a budget amendment in the amount of $374,000 from the school system's Basic Education Program Reserve (BEP) Funds to buy 52.68 acres of property on Allen Ferry Road .A majority of eight votes was needed to pass the amendment.Mason Carter and Elmer Ellis, Jr of the first district, Bobby Joines of the second district, David McDowell of the fourth district, Jerry Adcock of the fifth district, Marshall Ferrell of the sixth district, and Jimmy Poss of the seventh district all voted in favor of approving the budget amendment.Voting against the requested budget amendment were Jack Barton of the second district, Jerry Scott and Bradley Hendrix of the third district, Wayne Cantrell of the fourth district, John Green of the fifth district, Jeff Barnes of the sixth district, and Larry Summers of the seventh district.“I’m for a building program, but not this building program,” Summers said.The school board voted unanimously to enter into a contract to buy the property in January, subject to approval by the county commission and a favorable site assessment study.The property is owned by Mark and Karen Adams, Melvin and LeeAnn Crips, and Billy Crips.Under terms of the contract, the school system had a 90-day due diligence period to have core drilling done and inspect the title to the property and the environmental condition of the land to determine whether the site would be suitable for the school system’s purposes.Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, addressing the assembly after the proceedings, told the commission that “ The school system’s responsibility is to run the schools. It’s up to you as a funding body, and we come to you looking for funds.“ I think that is the responsibility of the county (commission), to be a funding body.” Willoughby said. “ It is not to make the decisions on what kind of school needs to be built.“ I think some members of the (commission) have gotten their role and the school board’s role mixed up,” Willoughby added. “ I think the members of this (commission) have made a bad decision about what’s best for the children of DeKalb County.” “ This is not a vote about the children,” said Barton, “ This is a vote about our fiscal responsibility in trying to choose the best property...I encourage the school board to come back to us with a five-year plan, a 10-year plan, a 15-year plan of where our growth rates are going and not from somebody that’s trying to sell us a school.”“ I personally would like to see this become a building point, and not an arguing point,” said County Mayor Mike Foster. “ My idea is that we sit down and talk, and try to solve problems rather than try to create problems.