Johnston County school officials made a mistake when asking Johnston County Commissioners to approve spending $624,000 for a new school.
On June 10th, school board attorney Jimmy Lawrence wrote a letter on behalf of Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow to County Manager Rick Hester and Johnston County Commissioners asking them to release $624,000 from a recently approve school board referendum to fund the purchase of a 39 acre tract at a cost of $16,000 per acre for a new middle school on Lynch Road off Highway 42 East.
In the letter from Dr. Renfrow, but signed by Mr. Lawrence, it stated twice the purchase was for a middle school.
At their nighttime meeting on June 10th, commissioners reviewed the letter and discussed the purchase of the land for a new middle school. Afterwards they unanimously approved the request.
On June 25th, only after JoCoReport.com published a story about the funding approval for the new school, Johnston County Schools reached out to us saying we had made a mistake and the land was being bought for an elementary school. We pointed out the letter addressed to the County Manager specifically asked for money for a middle school and not an elementary school. School officials promised to respond but as out today they haven’t.
We reached out to Johnston County Manager Rick Hester to see if the County will require the school board to resubmit a new request in July for funding for the elementary school. Hester told us, “Since the Board of Commissioners has already approved the price per acre for a school, I don’t see any reason for a second vote. At the next Board meeting, I will clarify that the property is for an elementary school.”
The 39 acres being purchased is part of a 202 acre tract in the name of Raymond E Earp Jr. Family Trust. The purchase is contingent upon satisfactory completion of geo-technical and other site tests.