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County wants schools to give new system a try
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County officials are concerned about a resolution drafted by the School Board requesting state lawmakers to allow the Warren County School System to opt out of 81 Act legislation adopted by the County Commission in June.The County Financial Management Act of 1981 gave counties the power to set up a centralized purchasing department, bringing the highway department, the school system and county government under the auspices of a seven-member purchasing committee. The county’s action did not sit well with the School Board, which is reluctant to lose its purchasing autonomy.Although county officials say they have been considering adopting the 81 Act for some time, with the encouragement of state auditors and state legislators, there was some speculation the School Board’s choice of land for the new Morrison school and contracting Durham School Services to take over the school’s transportation system, both of which were vocally opposed by the majority of county commissioners, had something to do with the county’s decision to approve the new purchasing system.At a recent meeting of the county’s Education Committee, attended by Director of Schools Dr. Jerry Hale and County Executive John Pelham, the committee chairman, Terry Bell, expressed his concern about the School Board’s action and the possible consequences.Bell reported that during a recent visit to Franklin County, which adopted the act in 2002, their officials noted the county has experienced no major problems.“They seemed to think it was working pretty good for them,” Bell said, asking Hale if he wanted to comment on his impressions.“Well they said they’ve gone through their eight or ninth year with it,” Hale said. “And they had pretty well gotten a lot of the kinks out of it and it seemed to be working for them.”“I kind of brought that up because the School Board is asking the General Assembly to let them opt out,” Bell said.