Bedford County Financial Management Committee, meeting Tuesday night, appointed a study committee to consider a school system budget amendment and report on it in time for the Oct. 9 county commission meeting.
The county commission deferred action on the amendment earlier this month, even though school officials say it's needed to fund additional teachers in order to maintain state-mandated class sizes. The school board voted last week to re-submit the amendment.
New finance committee member Tony Smith made the motion Tuesday night to send the issue to a specially-appointed study committee composed of county commissioner Jeff Yoes and school board members Ron Adcock, Andrea Anderson, Chad Graham and Diane Neeley.
The committee will be asked to make its report by Oct. 4 so that the full commission can consider the amendment Oct. 9.
Smith said that he attended last week's school board meeting, his first ever, and "witnessed a couple of things that were not too good."
Newly-elected school board chair Amy Martin pledged last week to restore the relationship between the school board and the county commission, but Smith said Martin may need to get the school board working together first. He said a good relationship will depend on "reliable, accurate information" and, without giving any specifics, Smith called for an end to "intimidation, humiliation, retaliation and threats."
Smith's motion was voted on and passed without questions or discussion from any committee member, including School Superintendent Ray Butrum.
After the commission voted earlier this month to defer action on the amendment, Butrum had said not having the amendment severely interfered with school system operations and put the system at risk of state fines of $50,000 per class if pupil-teacher ratios in kindergarten through third grade go higher than allowed by the state.
Butrum, meanwhile, had asked for the committee to consider a motion stating that the committee's recommendations would be presented to the full county commission only by the committee chair, but his request wasn't included on the agenda for Tuesday night's meeting. The request was mentioned briefly but not acted upon.
In other discussion Tuesday night:
l The committee recommended changing the motion passed by commissioners earlier this month to buy nine new cars for Bedford County Sheriff's Department. Sheriff's officials say that request should have been for 10 cars, not nine.
l The committee recommended an additional position for the county probation office and will add it to a budget amendment to be considered next month.
l The committee approved a list of surplus property submitted by the school system for sale. Many of the items are out-of-date computers.
l The committee approved changing the adoption fee for Bedford County Animal Control from $63 to $65, with the additional $2 to fund ID tags for adopted pets.
l The committee approved renewing the county's contract with Southern Health Partners, which manages health care for jail inmates.
l The county's information technology director, Chris White, said the county may need to consider replacing the T1 data lines currently being used with its own fiber optic network, which White said would be more stable and reliable.