Bertie to apply for $1.8 million

Published 8:50 am Tuesday, June 8, 2010

WINDSOR – A new Bertie High School took another small step forward Monday morning.

During a joint meeting of the Bertie County Commissioners and Bertie County Board of Education, the two bodies agreed to apply for $1.8 million in Quality School Construction Bond (QSCB) for the construction of a new high school.

After both boards were called to order, Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb explained the reason for the joint meeting.

“In April, the county and school boards both agreed to apply for $1.8 million in QSCB funds that can be used for new construction or renovation,” Lamb said. “In at least one of the financing scenarios, there was at least $3 million towards the construction of a new high school.

“In order to apply, the school board has to indicate what they intend to do with the money,” he added.

Lamb said he believed the school board wanted direction from the county commissioners about how the funds should be designated.

Board of Education Chair Emma Johnson said the school board wanted to see the funds used toward a new high school.

“The board would like to use this funding for a new high school,” Johnson said. “We don’t’ want to put a burden on the county commissioners, but we are passionate about a new high school.”

Commissioner Rick Harrell asked about the $1.2 million in QSCB funds that were applied for in the past. Those funds had been requested for renovations to Bertie High.

He asked if the previous funds were to also be designated for a new high school and Lamb said they could be, but that was not being requested yet.

Harrell also asked if there was a sunset on the money and Lamb said it was to be designated for spending by December 31, but it was possible to get an extension.

Commission Chairman Norman M. Cherry Sr. said he wanted the board to authorize going forward with the process and dealing with the deadlines after more discussion.

Commissioner J. Wallace Perry made a motion to go forward and allow Cherry to sign off on the request with Harrell offering a second. It passed on a 4-0 vote in the absence of Commission Vice Chairman L.C. Hoggard III.

Board of Education member Rickey Freeman then made a motion for the school board to apply for the funds and designate their use as for the construction of a new high school. That vote also passed 4-0 in the absence of school board Vice Chair Gloria Lee.