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Chatham County's Board of Education July emergency meeting approved grant application

Posted Saturday, August 22, 2009

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Pittsboro, NC - On July 30, the Chatham County Board of Education called an emergency meeting via telephone conference call. Chairwoman Russell announced that the purpose of the meeting was to approve a resolution supporting applying for American Recovery Reinvestment Act funds (federal stimulus funds). The grant application had a deadline of being postmarked by Friday, July 31.

Resolution for Use of Qualified School Construction Bond Funds (QSCB):

Mr. Logan stated this is a great opportunity for our school district to apply for interest-free qualified school construction bond funds. He stated these funds can be used for funding construction, rehabilitation, or repair of public schools or the acquisition of land for such facilities. He stated Chatham County Schools’ allocation will be slightly over $1.6 million if the applications are accepted. He stated bathroom renovations are already in the district’s Capital Improvement Plan to be completed over a four-year program. Mr. Logan stated he has been in contact with the county commissioners and county manager’s office and it was agreed to request funding for these projects through the Qualified School Construction Bond Funds (QSCB). He stated the deadline for completing the applications is July 31, 2009. He stated once the applications are submitted by the deadline, amendments can be made if needed at a later date based on actual bids received.

Col. Totten inquired about the wording “which may include eligible equipment expenditures” in item #2 of the resolution which reads: “All QSCB funds allocated to Chatham County Schools will be used for the construction, rehabilitation, or repair of public schools, which may include eligible equipment expenditures.” He asked for clarification that administration was not adding anything additional to the original purpose of the scope of the projects being proposed.

Mr. Logan responded that this wording was prepared by legal counsel and mirrors other similar resolutions Tharrington Smith has created for other school systems relating to the request for QSCB funding. Attorney Trey Allen stated the language in item #2 allows for maximum flexibility under the regulations.

Mr. O’Brien asked for clarification on the process once the application has been submitted. Mr. Logan responded that the next step is approval by the Chatham County Board of Commissioners to support the bathroom projects by agreeing to the additional funds, proceeding with the usual bond issuance procedures (including Local Government Commission (LGC) approval) on the state’s side, in addition to the federal requirements. Any bonds issued for these purposes must also meet the requirements of North Carolina law. Applications will be reviewed by a committee comprised of the Superintendent’s Bond Advisory Council (SBAC), the Executive Directors of the North Carolina School Boards Association, and the General Counsel of the N. C. Association of County Commissioners. The committee will recommend allocations of authority.

Col. Totten stated it was his understanding that $1.7 million was allocated from the federal government for Chatham County some time ago and questioned the timing of the school district receiving the information and the lateness of submitting the applications. Mr. Logan stated that the district did not receive the official application package until recently.

On a motion by Col. Totten, seconded by Vice-Chair McManus, the Board unanimously approved the resolution requesting Qualified School Construction Bond funding through the American Recovery Reinvestment Act for restroom and related renovation projects at the schools as presented. Mr. Hamm called his “yes” vote in prior to the telephone conference.

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Chatham County's Board of Education July emergency meeting approved grant application
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