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School board tables decision on selling old high school property

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By Ada Lang

The Levy County School Board voted to table a decision on the possible sale of the old Bronson High School property to the city of Bronson at the board’s regular meeting Tuesday morning after being advised by Board Attorney Sheree Lancaster that  it cannot hold a mortgage on any property sold.
Superintendent Bob Hastings mentioned there had been discussion between the county and the school board regarding purchasing the property to expand some county facilities. However, the difference between the amount that the county wants to pay and what the board wants to sell it for is too much, so those discussions have also been put on hold.
In other matters:
• The matter of renewing a two year contract with EBS Atlanta - a third party administrator for insurance plans - brought about a discussion on the merits of “buying local”.  
Board member, Cameron Asbell, who is in the insurance business, was clear in his opposition to sending money to out of state businesses when the same services can probably be obtained locally. Even if the cost is slightly more, Asbell stressed that money is “better staying in Levy County and not going to Georgia.” Asbell’s concern is that tax dollars will leave the state and not be spent back in the area, thus hurting local businesses.
Lancaster reviewed the policy on bids and purchases and reminded the board that currently it states that if there are bids and they are equal the board must “cast lots” to choose the vendor. However, she went on to say that it could easily be changed to give local vendors preference. The board will discuss it further at a future date.
• The board voted to accept recommendations to absorb the increased costs of retirement, insurance, bonuses and salary increases for the 2011-2012 school year.
• Board member Paige Brookins thanked everyone who supported the Levy County Schools Foundation bike ride that was held this past weekend, saying it was “very, very, very successful.”
She said participants came from as far away as North Carolina, although some got lost along the way and wound up in Trenton, eventually making it back to the finish line.  
Superintendent Bob Hastings was tasked with being the “pickup man”, driving a Gator that was available to pick up any riders who could not continue or had equipment problems.
Cedar Key School Principal Sue Ice had a flat tire, however, Hastings had no idea and returned to the finish line without her. Her riding partner, Patty Jett, reported the situation but it was too late. Ice had already reached her husband (who also happens to work for the school board) by cell phone and he came to her rescue.