At Monday night’s meeting, the Lakeland School System board rescinded the highly contested resolution for refinancing the middle school and issuing a special type of bond to build a high school.
This rescinding is just an acknowledgement that those documents are now outdated, Superintendent Dr. Ted Horrell said after the board meeting. He said it doesn’t indicate that the high school plans are being shelved.
Currently, the school district and city board are awaiting the outcome of a lawsuit that challenges the funding strategy for the proposed high school. The lawsuit by a group of 10 Lakeland citizens alleges violations of the Tennessee Sunshine Law as well as violations of state law in the planned issuance of $60 million in municipal bonds without allowing citizens to vote on the measure.
The board action on Monday night affected Resolution 2017/12-01, which asked the city to provide funds to finance and refinance the district’s construction of schools, to enter into all other related documents and to authorize the related transfer of school property.
Board member Geoff Hicks said, “I see it as kind of a sad end to what could have been. I made a promise to the people who elected me that I would push for a complete K-12 system if an opportunity presented itself, and that opportunity did present itself. Unfortunately, some things are beyond our control, and I think that we as a board did our best.”
He also said he’s hopeful the city will prevail in the lawsuit.
The board also:
- Heard the announcement that the Lakeland Middle Preparatory School (LMPS) Battle of the Books Team competed against Appling Middle School recently in the county championship and won 51-46. The LMPS team will compete in the North Region finals against Barrett’s Chapel. The Battle of the Books is a reading incentive program.
- Was updated on school registration information. The district’s in-person registration will be March 22. Between March 6 and close of business on March 20, returning students can review their information online on Skyward (a student information system) and upload proofs of residency, if desired.
- Was updated on the athletic fields project. Bid respondents will be interviewed the week of spring break, and Horrell said he hopes to bring a recommendation to the board at a special-called meeting toward the end of March.
- Received the news that the middle school students will be taking their standardized testing online this year.
- Got confirmation that the initial budget presentation to the board will be at the April work session.
- Heard that theater lights have been installed in the LMPS cafetorium.
- Approved a district policy update on how many readings are necessary for new or changed policies (first reading). Once this policy update is finalized, the district will have only one reading for policy updates/changes and will continue to have two readings for new policies.
- Approved policy updates on medicines, testing programs, qualifications and duties of the superintendent, and alternative school programs.
- Approved a budget amendment related to bookkeeping for the district’s laptop leases.
- Named Hicks as an alternate to the board’s policy review committee.
- Named Vice Chair Laura Harrison as the board’s liaison to meet with the superintendent to review his contract.
Board member Teresa Henry was absent from the meeting.
CAROLYN BAHM is the editor of The Bartlett Express. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.