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Submitted by WWAY on Wed, 03/16/2011 - 2:21pm.

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) - Today in his newsletter email, New Hanover County Commissioner Jason Barfield outlined some of the specific concerns he has about the way the School Board is spending money. He wrote his concern stems from "an empty Pre-K Center, an elementary school that sits vacant on Princess Place Dr, and a new roof for a middle school slated to close...." Barfield would like the state to give county commissioners the ability to govern how the school board spends money, just like the state is able to do he says. We asked Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley to tell us more about these buildings and help us understand what the chairman may be concerned about. In his blog earlier this week he said, "The current rules already allow the Commissioners to pick which capital or building projects it wishes to fund. In the past three years, they have chosen due to budget concerns, to fund none except those from voter approved bonds. The county schools have been excellent stewards of this money. The capitol projects have come in under budget and on time." (http://www.nhcs.net/wordpress/timmarkley) He also referred us to the district's Vacant Building Summary, which says this about two of the three campuses: NHCS Prek (Chesterbrook) - 4905 South College Rd. - School Years Vacant: 2010-2011 The NHCS PreK (Chesterbrook) facility was purchased by the school system in April 2006. The building was used for the 2006-2007 school year to house the kindergarten program from Parsley Elementary School to help alleviate overcrowding at the school. The kindergarten program returned to Parsley the following school year. The Pre-K program at Blount was relocated to this site for SY 2007-2008 and was renamed the NHCS Pre-K Center. As a cost savings measure, the NHCS PreK was moved to Johnson (Elementary) at the start of SY 2010-2011. Blount PreK - 3702 Princess Place Dr. - School Years Vacant: 2009 - 2010, 2010 - 2011 The Pre-K program at Blount was relocated to the NHCS Pre-K Center (Chesterbrook) facility for SY 2006-2007. This allowed Blount to be used as a 'swing site' for renovation projects included in the 2005 Bond. Forest Hills Elementary was housed at Blount for the 2007-2008 school year, and Winter Park Elementary was housed there for the 2008-2009 school year. The building has remained vacant since then.

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