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Wayne Schools, Commissioners Volley Over Money

Posted February 8, 2008

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— Wayne County school officials and commissioners are locked in a budget dispute over tennis courts.

The school board recently requested more than $400,000 from the county to repair or replace tennis courts at four high schools. Some county commissioners said any additional funds should be put toward beefing up school security, however.

"Which one do you vote for: protection or resurfacing the tennis courts?" Commissioner Jack Best asked.

Improving security has been a priority for Wayne County Schools. In the last year, the district has installed surveillance cameras at several schools, and the school board recently sent commissioners a wish list for long-term security projects, such as adding more cameras and putting keyless, automated locks on classroom doors.

"This is a very expensive process, so we're very realistic that this isn't something that is going to happen overnight," district spokesman Ken Derkson said.

The school board asked for money for the tennis courts from a half-cent sales tax increase. So far, county commissioners haven't approved any money for additional projects.

"It appears they want to blame the county commissioners for not funding the security system when they've got the money for the tennis courts," Best said.

Derkson said the school board isn't putting tennis above security. Rather, it is trying to make the best use of available money, he said.

"Security is a top priority for our schools, but we can't overlook other needs," he said. "(Compared with) the cost it will take to do all we want for security, the tennis courts are just a drop in the bucket."


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