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New county department called waste
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Saying Warren County will be wasting over a quarter-million dollars this year on redundant services, members of the School Board suggested the county taking over school finances was nothing more than vengeance on the part of the Warren County Commission.In what was described as a “hostile takeover,” seven new county employees have been hired to oversee school finances – even as cuts will have to be made in the school system.School Board member Jeff Lee suggested even county commissioners are second guessing the decision after the move has received some public scrutiny.“I have my doubts if even the County Commission is still behind it,” Lee said, pointing to a Standard online poll which showed 73 percent of those voting were against the move to have school finances drawn under the county umbrella.Lee went on to say the move may be costly at election time.The move to seemingly duplicate services comes at a time when the school system is likely going to have to trim its workforce.“The JOBS grant is gone and that was a million and a half dollars,” said Director of Schools Dr. Jerry Hale, saying there will be a 15 percent dip in the special education budget. “We will be sending out non-renew notices to some employees.”Dr. Hale said he hopes money can be found to re-hire some of those who will not have their contracts renewed.“You either have to raise funding or cut services,” said incoming Director of Schools Bobby Cox. Cox noted the school system will have to come up with three quarters of a million dollars to keep up with the pay increase guaranteed for teachers.Dr. Hale went said much work is being put into copying records for the county’s new accounting staff which is now set up at the county government building on Locust Street.With the shortage of educational dollars, School Board members questioned out loud the County Commission’s decision to take over school finances.