Saturday, April 20, 2024

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Beneath the rhetoric, the substance isn’t very flattering for ABSS

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Aside from the unnecessarily caustic approach that school board member Patsy Simpson took toward county commissioner Bill Lashley this week (see separate editorial in this edition, above), another little-noticed aspect of Monday night’s meeting isn’t very encouraging for the school system.

Among the points we think commissioner Bill Lashley was trying to make Monday night was that, for the current year’s budget, the county commissioners provided more capital funding than the school system actually asked for.

The commissioners added another $500,000, above and beyond the school system’s requested funds for capital improvements, in order to ensure the installation of security cameras at five of the county’s seven middle schools.

So one of Monday night’s reports, from the new bureaucrat in charge of capital projects, chief operations officer Greg Hook, was on the “progress” in spending those funds.

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Almost six months after these funds were [pick your term: given, allocated, appropriated, designated] to ABSS to improve security at these middle schools, Hook reported that nothing had been done.

Nothing.

(Now Hook is relatively new, so it’s not entirely his doing, or not doing, but the school system as a whole should have done something before now.)

Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the county commissioners aren’t going to be happy to find that something which they gave an even higher priority to than the school system had, student security, hasn’t been implemented.

In fact, it doesn’t even appear to have started.

We’re quite sure that commissioners will remember, and likely recall this example, inasmuch as the school administration and school board are breathless to say how much more spending they need for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

You haven’t even done anything with the money we gave you six months ago, we can envision the commissioners saying, followed by: Why should we give you even more?

It’s a good question, and we suspect school officials better start preparing their response(s), because we imagine they’re going to need to give it in the near future (probably more than once).

Superintendent Dr. Dain Butler has had a full agenda since he arrived last summer, and we give him credit for many improvements in direction and policy that we’ve seen since his arrival.

But this item has apparently slipped through the cracks, and the superintendent needs to put immediate attention into getting these security cameras up and running.

It is a fundamental prerequisite to him or the school system making any appeal for more capital spending for the next fiscal year.

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