For now at least, the days of county commissioners dictating how the school system will spend county dollars have come to an end.
As noted in today's article by Michael Biesecker, commissioners voted 4-3 on Monday to end the "purpose and function" budgeting requirements that were enacted on the school system last year. It was a straight party vote with the new Democratic majority backing the change and all three Republicans in opposition.
Under the old rules, the school board had to ask the commissioners for permission if school administrators shifted spending by more than 15 percent of its approved budget in any of several broad categories.
School board members had bitterly complained about the requirements, saying it added extra work on principals and administrators.
The school board had asked the commissioners to lift the "purpose and function" requirements when it agreed last month to give back $5.7 million to the county.
Yesterday's vote wasn't exactly a model of harmonious cooperation.
New Chairman Harold Webb was so eager to vote he declared the item approved immediately after he and the other Democrats said "aye," forgetting to ask whether anyone on the board was opposed, as is required.'
Later on, Webb ended the debate when he declared GOP Commissioner Tony Gurley out of order. Gurley had been attempting to run down a list of examples when, in his view, the school board had fallen short of being fiscally transporent.
First on his list was the system's busing policy, which Gurley said costs taxpayers millions because of the system's diversity policy.
After several of the board's Democrats objected, Webb ruled that Gurley's views on school spending were not germane to the debate and called for a vote.