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School will not be built just yet
Board shelves Kelly Mill plan
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Forsyth County News
The Forsyth County Board of Education has decided to hold off on building a new elementary school.

Citing economic reasons, the board voted 5-0 against moving forward with plans for the proposed Kelly Mill Elementary, which was slated to open in 2011.

Despite the decision Thursday, Superintendent Buster Evans said Kelly Mill is still the next elementary school that needs to be built.

“I think it’s all an aspect of timing,” he said. “In the event that we do need to build the building, we’ve still got time on our side. We can build that elementary school in 12 months."

For several months, the board had been weighing whether to build the school.

Thursday, facilities director Robert Sewell suggested the board either approve the nearly $12.7 million bid from the Charles Black Construction Co. or reject all bids.

Evans recommended the latter, given the state of the project's three financial sources -- bonds, sales tax revenue and state funding.

“We do not know at this point whether or not the state is going to establish or authorize ... any or all of the capital outlay funds that are being requested," he said.

“We felt that was key in terms of making this recommendation. We don’t think we ought to spend money we don’t have.”

Evans also cited the drop in sales tax revenue over the last 12 to 18 months. And he said he doesn’t want the burden to shift to homeowners through bonds.

After the meeting, Evans said he was not happy about the impact the decision would have on Charles Black, which was one of 15 companies to bid on the project.

“We certainly hope that they and all of our contractors will be back at the table when we do bid the project,” he said.

Earlier in the meeting, Chairwoman Ann Crow expressed her appreciation for the work the facilities department put toward the project.

“I’m personally disappointed we can’t do this right now, but it just doesn’t look feasible.”

Board member Mike Dudgeon noted there was more to building the school than the upfront cost.

“Off all those issues on the capital side, opening a new school also adds pressure to the operating budget, with extra overhead,” he said.
“Unfortunately, this is a time where we’re having to be very cautious.”

Evans estimated the overhead would have been about $2 to $2.5 million.

The district opened five new schools this fall -- including three elementary schools and one middle and one high school -- and four in 2007.