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Commissioners Concerned About Tornado Damaged Schools

by Ashley Murphy

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Last night's meeting of the Bradley County Commission began with Circuit Court Judge Mike Sharp. Sharp was on hand to swear in the newest member of the commission, Cliff Eason. Eason was selected by the commission as a whole as the best candidate to replace long standing 4th district commissioner Howard Thompson.

Thompson resigned from his elected position earlier in May due to the upcoming court appearance he would be making on the previous charges he had held against him. Since then, Thompson has plead guilty to those attempted theft charges and was sentenced to two years in prison. Due to Thompson having no previous offenses, Criminal Court Judge Carroll Ross suspended Thompson's sentence, but required he still face two years of probation.

Once Commissioner Eason settled into his new chair, Director of Bradley County Schools Johnny McDaniel presented a balanced 2011-2012 school budget to the commission. County School Finance Rick Smith was also on hand to help answer any questions commissioners might have. After fielding several questions about the budget, it seemed things always came back to the tornado damaged schools and what will become of them.

McDaniel said that it will have to be a board (Bradley County School Board) decision and that no one person can make the call as to what happens to the buildings. He believes that Michigan Avenue will be able to reopen for next school year, but Blue Springs is going to be a big decision as it received heavy structural damage. He said that it seemed the roof was picked up off of the building and sat back down cracking concrete walls and trapping debris between walls and ceilings. McDaniel also said a significant number of windows were blown out, as well. A board meeting is going to be held this Thursday to discuss the tornado damaged school property.

The Bradley County Commission will meet again on Monday, June 6th at 7 p.m. in the Bradley County Courthouse.