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White County Middle School Greenhouse Bid Approved

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
White County Middle School Greenhouse Bid Approved

The White County School Board approved a bid of some $186,000 for a greenhouse at White County Middle School despite concerns about the details of the bid.

Board Members Tracy Fowler and Dewayne Howard voiced concerns about committing to such an expense without access to itemized structural details. Fowler said the other bid came from within White County and she would love to have supported a slightly pricier local vendor rather than one out of the county. Finance Director Chad Marcum said he has never seen a bid with detailed line items.

“Bottom line, at the end of the day, whether they were off in their electrical work or whatever, maybe they had a different sub, the bottom line is the price that we have to look at,” Marcum said. “And we can’t give preference to locality.”

Marcum said the project will be funded through the district’s Innovative Schools Model Grant. He said the greenhouse will be a 48-by-24-foot structure outside of the school’s auxiliary gym.

“I think we should still hold off and send it to a committee and let them look into it more,” Howard said. “$186,000 for a greenhouse. $480,000 for a softball complex. And we get five minutes? 10 minutes to make these decisions? I just don’t think that’s being a good steward with the people’s money.”

Marcum said the county’s Purchasing Committee oversaw the bid procurement process. The board ultimately approved the bid from HD Homes LLC.

In other business, the board approved an agreement to participate in a social media lawsuit wherein three law firms claim that social media negatively impacts student behavior. Director of Schools Kurt Dronebarger said many other districts have already supported the case that seeks damages in return for the time and money that school systems have had to spend in dealing with the effects of social media on their students.

“We’re having to hire people to take care of a lot of mental issues that our students are dealing with,” Dronebarger said. “We have the “Stop It” app that is a reporting app that all of our schools’ students use and a lot of our parents have access to as well, and the vast majority of the complaints that we get stem from social media.”

He said participation will not cost the system anything, but if the attorneys win the case and the district receives money for damages, 27 percent will be paid to those attorneys.


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