Politics trump Safety



Capital Projects Committee


Looking Back - Capital Projects Recommendation


By: Pat Hunter


I received numerous requests for information about the Capital Projects Committee meeting. Was the Committee made aware of the safety issues at Greenback? Read on...T�was 4-days before Christmas, while parents, students and community longed for a new Greenback School it appear that politics trumped safety with some county officials. As many were preparing for the Christmas holidays, the Capital Projects Committee (CPC) met at 3:30 pm on Monday Dec. 21, 2009 in the board room of the BOE. There was no public comment or packet information for citizens.

CPC Commissioner Earlena Maples attended her first committee meeting. She commented that she was unaware that she served on the committee. CPC Commissioner Bob Franke was absent and with no district representation to voice concerns about Greenback�s School, CPC Commissioner Roy Bledsoe�s recommendation sailed through the committee with no opposition.

CPC Commission Chairman Roy Bledsoe started the ball rolling. He recommended building a proposed new Loudon Middle School (grades 6-8) and new cafeteria for Philadelphia School for the consideration of the Budget Committee, full Commission and school board.

Commissioner Bledsoe mentioned that he had met with the Mayor and Finance Director. He referred to financial information in front of him but the Budget Committee has yet to discuss the information at any public open meeting. 

CPC Commissioner Earlena Maples hesitated and looked for words as she asked school director Wayne Honeycutt, which project between Greenback and what Roy (Bledsoe) was talking about, did he see as being needed, completed first or at least started and the necessity.



Streaming Video clip Honeycutt - Safety & ADA issues at Greenback School


School director Wayne Honeycutt responded that in his mind that there were two different issues in his mind. By far, the biggest need so far as overcrowding and needed classrooms and those areas, certainly that would be the new middle school in Loudon. �I don�t think that the overcrowding is nearly as bad as in Greenback however; there are some safety issues there and ADA issues so it depends on which direction that you want to look at. If you go on that, than Greenback may be, that opens up a whole nother area of discussion.


The Capital Projects Committee and Maintenance-Purchasing Director made no mention of the taxpayer funded $46,000 Public Building Authority (PBA) study, which proposed only one new school in Greenback.


Commissioner Bledsoe brought up that there no politics involved. Interestingly, the proposed new middle school in Loudon will be located in CPC Chairperson Nancy Marcus's district and the Philadelphia School cafeteria project will be located in Commission Chairman's Bledsoe district. 


CPC Chairperson Nancy Marcus, a retired educator, said very little during the committee's discussion but months earlier, she made her opinion well-known when she made lengthy comments at a commission workshop and made headline news. Commissioner Marcus argues against new Greenback School.


Director Honeycutt informed Capital Projects Committee members that this was Phase 1 of the school building program and this phase did not address overcrowding at Highland Park or Eaton�s School and issues at Steekee.


Honeycutt didn�t want to step on toes but he said, �Our facilities have been ignored�. If you give $15 million to the school board that will not cure the issues of the nine county schools, he commented. 


Commissioner Bledsoe�s motion was seconded by Commissioner Wayne Gardin. Voting Aye were CPC Chairperson Nancy Marcus and commissioners Earlena Maples, Roy Bledsoe and Wayne Gardin.




                                                                                                                                                                            More pictures


Commissioner Wayne Gardin tours Greenback School Jan 2, 2010. He voted for Roy Bledsoe's recommendation, which did not include a new Greenback School.

At the Jan. 4, Commission meeting, Chairman Bledsoe's motion failed in a 5 to 5 tie vote.


October 2, 2006 Commission meeting- PBA contract and AFT for schools.  $49,000 Down the Drain!