The Carroll Board of County Commissioners sent yet another letter to the Board of Education, this time telling board members the county is moving forward with plans to relocate the school system's central office to the former North Carroll High School, foregoing a previously discussed joint meeting on the matter.
The letter, dated Sept. 21, was written to follow up on a July 20 letter from County Administrator Roberta Windham requesting the school board's relocation plans.
"It is time to move forward with the plan to relocate the BOE to the former North Carroll High School facility in Hampstead," the most recent letter states. "Although the Carroll County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) prefers to work cooperatively and collaboratively with you and your staff to identify the most appropriate and agreeable specification for your new location, thus far our staff has been unable to obtain cooperation from your staff."
The letter shows the commissioners will implement the plan developed from a preliminary study that involved the Board of Education's proposed move to the former New Windsor Middle School facility.
"Although less than ideal and not our preferred method, without your input, we will be forced to interpret that plan and make modifications based on our best judgment," the letter reads. "The BCC will not support any transfer or funds from BOE fund balance to build a new BOE headquarters."
Commissioners Doug Howard, R-District 5, and Richard Weaver, R-District 2, whose district includes the North Carroll building, presented a concept plan at the beginning of March that would relocate the Board of Education and a portion of the Sheriff's Office to the former high school in Hampstead. Since that time, the Sheriff's Office has also requested, and been approved, to bring a training facility to the former school.
The school board has repeatedly opposed the move, most recently presenting an idea that would require a new building. The BOE approved a feasibility study to examine the possibility of relocating to the Friendship Valley Elementary School campus and building a new office next to the school.
When asked about the letter, BOE Vice President Bob Lord said the school board would be discussing it soon and declined further comment. BOE President Devon Rothschild was not available for comment, and CCPS Superintendent Stephen Guthrie declined to comment until he is able to speak with the school board.
Weaver, the president of the Board of County Commissioners, said the two boards couldn't make a date work to meet and the county needs to move forward with plans.
"We can't wait for everyone to get to a meeting to get moving forward on projects," he said.
Those thoughts were echoed in the letter the commissioners sent to the school board.
"Avoidance is not going to settle this issue and we request, once again, that you direct your staff to work with county staff to prepare the facility in a mutually satisfactory manner," the letter states. "Regardless, our construction modification will begin before the end of December 2017. You will be given possession of the new facility no later than June 15, 2019 and must completely vacate your current location at 125 N. Court Street in Westminster no later than August 31, 2019."
Weaver is planning to give a presentation next month during the Hampstead Town Council meeting and update residents on plans for the community's former high school. The meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10. Weaver will talk about signage for the planned turf field; recreation and parks including fields, gyms, courts and the auditorium; the sheriff's plan; and the BOE relocation, according to a news release issued by the county Wednesday.