Pilot Light: School Board Waits on Technology Funds
The Moore County Board of Education must wait until Jan. 18 to determine if half a million dollars in bond interest and sales tax refunds can be applied to an information technology Smart Board initiative in the middle schools.
At a Monday meeting, the Board of Commissioners voted to table a decision until the next meeting. That will provide more time to determine whether the schools will get the money or the county will apply the money to bonded indebtedness for the schools' capital improvement program.
In 2008, Moore County voters approved a $54 million bond issue to carry out the initial phase of a major capital improvement program in the public schools. County Financial Services Director Lisa Hughes reported that the 2008 series and 2009 series of bonds sold higher than their premium, resulting in additional funds.
The Board of Education approved a budget amendment calling for the $500,000 in bond interest and bond premium to be appropriated for the IT (computer) upgrade in the middle schools. However, the budget amendment must also be approved by the Board of Commissioners.
CLOSE - Dr. Susan Purser, superintendent of schools, credited the finding of the available funds to the close relationship between the county finance office and the schools' financial officer.
She also called attention to the good working relationship between the two boards.
"More and more students are taking advantage of information technology," Purser said.
Hughes said that Tom Lee, the county's bond counsel, has advised that the schools' request is in compliance with the referendum questions and thus the $500,000 can be used as requested.
If the commissioners opt to apply the money toward the county debt on the school bonds, the schools still have the option of using bond money to pay for the IT Smart Board and infrastructure, classified as capital expenditures.
GOP MEETING - The Moore County Republican Executive Committee will meet At 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Courts Facility in Carthage.
On the agenda will be preparations for this year's county convention and preparations for the 2010 election year.
JACKSON - Morgan Jackson, a longtime Democratic Party worker with Moore County connections, is serving as senior consultant for the Cunningham for U.S. Senate campaign.
Jackson helped to make arrangements for Cunningham to address local Democrats at their county convention last year. That was before the former state senator had officially announced his candidacy.
Cunningham recently announced that his campaign has raised $320,000 in its first month. He says the contributions came from almost 750 donors, 85 percent of whom are North Carolina residents.
With support from the national party, he is one of three Democrats who have announced their candidacy to oppose Republican Sen. Richard Burr this year.
But first, one of the candidates must make it through the Democratic primary in May. Also vying for the nomination are Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Chapel Hill attorney Ken Lewis.
Marshall was keynote speaker at a county Democratic fundraiser in 2009.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at (910) 693-2479 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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