Deal with Bible college is OK'd

The Richmond County Board of Education moved forward with the sale of one of its properties Tuesday evening and held off on the sale of another.


The board agreed to a renegotiated deal to sell the old Hornsby Elementary School to Fellowship Churches United. In May, the board agreed to a $300,000 offer for the vacant property, but the Bible college's financing has fallen through, board attorney Pete Fletcher said.

The school board accepted a new deal the Bible college offered to buy Hornsby for the same price. The deal requires the Atlanta-based organization to put 10 percent down, lease the facility for six months and then purchase it outright at that point.

If the college doesn't close on the property, the school board would keep the $30,000 down payment, Mr. Fletcher said.

Frank Dolan, the chairman of the finance committee, said he was leery of the deal.

"You can have $30,000 in damage in a heartbeat," Mr. Dolan said. "I think we are exposing ourselves to more than $30,000 in damages."

Mr. Fletcher said the contract on the property sale stipulates that it must be maintained in good condition and agreed that school maintenance workers could be allowed to inspect Hornsby twice a month.

In a separate action, the board also approved a one-year delay in moving the programs at Bungalow Road Alternative School to Tubman Middle School.

The delay will expedite renovations at Tubman as it is converted to an educational center and reduce distractions for students during construction. The delay prevents the board from immediately selling Bungalow Road or from using it for another purpose.

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In other business, the board discussed efforts to get more minority- and women-owned companies to conduct business with the school system. The system will work with local organizations to spread the word about bidding opportunities, Purchasing and Inventory Control Director David Arnold said.

Board President Marion Barnes also suggested placing bids announcements in the Metro Courier, a black-owned newspaper.

But Superintendent Dana Bedden said some minority- and women-owned companies have raised concerns about their ability to handle sizable amounts of business. Many of them are small and incapable of handling the business needs of an organization as large as the school system.

Dr. Bedden also noted that the school board's charter requires that it always accept the "lowest responsible bid."

Mr. Arnold said regular reports will be made to the board about the participation of minority- and women-owned businesses.