Policy tweaked for White Oak house

Published 9:02 am Saturday, August 7, 2010

WINDSOR – For the next 10 months, the infamous house on White Oak Road is being leased.

Tuesday night during their regular meeting, the Bertie County Board of Education agreed to lease the home, which is owned by the district, to Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Will Crawford.

The house, which has been the subject of much controversy since its construction earlier this decade, has been used by school district personnel and others aiding the district for the past year. Earlier this year, board members voiced concerns about the house being used without rent being paid.

Then Superintendent of Schools Dr. Chip Zullinger defended the policy by saying the house had sat vacant and was being used only by those directly aiding the school district.

During three days of meetings last week, the board indicated it would no longer allow the property to be used without rent being paid and instructed Board Attorney Rod Malone to develop a document to be used for rental or lease agreements.

Tuesday night, Malone announced the board had discussed the possibility of leasing the property at 249 White Oak Road to the interim superintendent.

“I have a preliminary draft of the lease, but it does not include numbers,” Malone said.

Discussion among board members centered on including the utilities in the cost of the lease since the board was already paying those costs.

Board Chair Gloria Lee said she had in mind a nominal fee above the cost of utilities.

Vice Chairman Alton Parker said he believed the original price set for renting the property was $400 and he would like to see the board stay with that figure.

Malone asked about a security deposit, which he said could be waived, and board members initially were inclined to go that direction.

“If we trust Dr. Crawford enough to make him Interim Superintendent, I think we can trust him with the house,” Parker said.

Board member Pamela Chamblee, however, said she didn’t view it the same way.

“I’m not so sure about that,” Chamblee said. “We have to do things the proper way, no matter who we may trust.”

Parker said Chamblee was correct and that the board had stressed it would no longer simply approve projects, but look into the ramifications of them.

Chamblee them made a motion to lease the home to Dr. Crawford at $400 per month with a $400 security deposit. The motion passed without objection.