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If BoE sells Rivers Elementary School, where does money go?

There is still not much official information available on the potential sale of Rivers Elementary School or who the buyer might be. But what is known is that, even if it is sold, the proceeds cannot be used to pay for teachers or parapros or even for maintenance and repairs of other buildings.

Instead, the money must be used to pay down bond debt and cannot be used to offset the millions that must be cut from the general fund in the spring.

The Fayette County Board of Education Monday night after executive session unanimously passed a motion to “authorize staff to enter into up to 120 days of discovery and due diligence related to the potential sale of Rivers Elementary.”

With a 2008 construction price tag of $10 million, the 86,172 square-foot facility has 43 instructional units with room to accommodate 675 students. The construction of the school was part of the $65 million bond referendum approved by voters in November 2004. It currently houses a few dozen special education students and about double that many staff persons.

A portion of the current one-penny education sales tax collected throughout Fayette (E-SPLOST) also helps pay down the school system’s bond debt. And the E-SPLOST continued by voters in November, and taking effect in 2014, will provide another $10 million in bond debt payments.

Current bond debt is $72.7 million while the current bond millage rate collected to pay down the bond debt stands at 1.45 mills.

Rivers is one of the schools included in the redistricting efforts that were put on hold in mid-October after Superintendent Jeff Bearden announced that an undisclosed potential property deal was in the works. But it took Bearden about two weeks to tell members of his community advisory committee that the property he referenced at the meeting was Rivers Elementary.

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<cite>Any time we deny any citizen the full exercise of his constitutional rights, we are weakening our own claim to them. Eisenhower</cite>

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