President of youth organization concerned about portables

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 20, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – A decision by the Concordia Parish School Board to sell four portable buildings concerns members of a local non-profit agency. Wendell Millicks, president of the Concord Youth and Adult Community Association, said he is making calls to confirm whether federal or state laws allow the school board to donate the property legally to his after-school program.

Millicks said he thinks donating the portables is a legal option the school board should consider because of the benefit his program offers Concordia Parish students. &uot;If you’re an educational system, education should be your first priority,&uot; Millicks said.

But school board members voted Nov. 7 to advertise the portables for sale because their attorney, Norman Magee, said they could not legally donate property to any group.

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The board members believe they have taken the necessary steps in dealing with the portables.

&uot;I’m sorry that (Millicks) feels that way but we’ve got to do what we have to do according to the law,&uot; said Mike Grantham, school board president.

Millicks asked the school board to consider donating the buildings to the Concord Youth and Adult Association in September. At that time, board members voted to have their attorney research the matter and see what process to follow when disposing of the buildings.

According to Magee, Concordia Parish School District policy allows the school board members only to sell unwanted property, and the Louisiana Constitution prohibits the district from donating the portable units.

The constitution &uot;clearly prohibits the school board from donating said portable buildings to or for any person, association or corporation public or private and any attempt to do so would be unlawful,&uot; Magee wrote in an opinion to the board.

Grantham said the board’s decision had nothing to do with Millicks or his program. &uot;If we could give him the buildings, we’d give him the buildings,&uot; Grantham said.

About 55 students took part in the Concord Youth and Adult Association tutoring program in 1999, Millicks said. The association has offered its after-school tutoring at public schools for the past two years but portable units would provide places for off-campus programs.

The portables also would allow more flexibility in scheduling and allow the association to hold classes on weekends, Millicks said.

The units in question are located at Monterey School and Vidalia Lower Elementary, and the school district bought them with federal funds during the 1960s and 1970s. The units are old, in poor shape and no longer meet the needs of the school district, said Superintendent Dr. Lester &uot;Pete&uot; Peterman.