Thursday, June 13, 2024

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Request from schools for post-storm funds might’ve been nonstarter for county commissioners

The pounding that Tuesday’s rainstorm inflicted on several area schools had left some of Alamance County’s leaders fully expecting that the local school system would come to them for the funds to make the necessary post-tempest repairs.

By the time that this newspaper went to press on Wednesday, the Alamance Burlington school system had not actually made any overtures that the county’s board of commissioners could take up at its next regularly-scheduled meeting on January 16.

But had the school system made such a request, it’s unclear that the commissioners would have even addressed it during this upcoming gathering.

According to John Paisley, Jr., the chairman of Alamance County’s commissioners, ABSS had a rather narrow window of opportunity to get any storm-related requests on the agenda for this upcoming meeting.

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He added that this opening had already closed by the time he discussed the matter with The Alamance News on Wednesday afternoon.

“Nobody has contacted me whatsoever,” the board’s chairman went on to note in a phone conversation at about 2:00 p.m., “and our agenda has already gone out. It’s already been published.”

A draft of board’s meeting agenda had, indeed, been posted to the county’s website by 3:20 p.m. on Wednesday.

This draft contained only one budgetary item pertaining to the school system – namely, a small decrease in the state lottery proceeds that have been set aside for a recently-completed project at Western High School.

Paisley conceded that a late-coming request from the school system could still get a hearing on January 16 if he or another commissioner brings it before the rest of the board.

A majority of the commissioners would then have to vote to tack this item onto the meeting agenda before the agenda itself is approved at the start of the meeting.

But even if the school system can get a financial request before the commissioners, there’s no guarantee that they’ll act on it immediately – or to the school system’s satisfaction.

Paisley said that he, for one, would first like to know if the school system has explored other potential sources of funding like roof warranties or insurance claims to pay for its storm-related repairs. In the meantime, he said, he’d want some assurance that the school system’s maintenance staff did everything they could to minimize the damage when the first signs of roof leaks appeared during the storm.

“Some of the county buildings also had water damage,” he noted by way of comparison. “But somebody immediately contacted our maintenance folks, and they were inside those buildings last night. So, we immediately jumped on the problem to avoid further damage. But whether the school system did this, I cannot answer that.”

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