Warren County Commissioners in District 8 are disappointed with the Board of Education’s decision not to purchase extra land around Irving College School.
“We represent District 8 and we have to look after the people in that area,” said Commissioner Randy England. “We want to stress strongly that the School Board should come together and purchase this land for the betterment of the school.”
The land is 10 acres that border the school property. School Board member Tanya Bess motioned during the most recent meeting to purchase the 10 acres of land at $15,000 an acre for “long-term plans” at the school. Without a second, her motion failed.
Commissioner Scott Rubley, the other District 8 representative, says the land will only add $150,000 to a $3 million project.
“To me, $150,000 is a lot of money. However, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a lot of money when the project is $3 million,” said Rubley. “I hope the School Board doesn’t take this as us pounding them down, but purchasing that land is the right thing to do. We are proud to be getting a new cafeteria, new gym and two new classrooms, but we need this land. I hope they revisit purchasing it.”
England added, “We represent Irving College and we need to fight for this. I feel strongly that Irving College always takes a backseat. Now, it’s Irving College’s time. The School Board needs to do the same at Irving College because they did it at the other schools.”
For Dibrell School, the county purchased 31.7 acres of additional land at $13,388 an acre. An additional 27 acres were purchased for Morrison Elementary at $15,300 an acre.
England and Rubley contend the property is necessary because the school is land locked, the septic system could fail, and because the additional land will allow a new entrance from Highway 56 and the placement of flashing caution lights.
While Director of Schools Bobby Cox informed School Board members that funding is an issue, England offered two options: 1) use the money gained when the old Morrison School is auctioned off, or 2) use the additional sales tax revenue received by the school.
According to England, the school has received an additional $380,000 in sales tax revenue.
“The school system has over $380,000 they did not expect to have in sales tax revenue,” he said. “They didn’t project receiving that much. They could use part of those funds to purchase the land.”
If the decision is final, England would like a public meeting held at Irving College School by the School Board to inform its residents why.
“If they don’t want to purchase the land, I think the School Board has an obligation to hold a board meeting at Irving College School and tell the residents why this land won’t be purchased for the future growth of the school. The residents of Irving College deserve at least that much,” said England.