School district must be fiscally responsible

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 24, 2001

The Natchez-Adams School Board’s attorneys need to resolve the cloud of doubt lingering over a recent construction project at the high school.

The board is withholding payment to a contractor who built a sidewalk and canopy at the school because of violations in the bid process. And while the district has danced around the issue for weeks now, taxpayers and concerned citizens are left wondering what will happen.

According to district officials, the building and grounds supervisor in charge of this project failed to advertise for bids on the project as required by state law. Now, if the district determines the violations were intentional, the district will be prohibited by that same law from paying the contractor the nearly $16,000 his company is due.

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Ironically, the three companies which provided supplies for the project, already have been paid more than $4,900 for the project. District officials cited the suppliers’ limited knowledge of the scope of the project and the fact that they submitted the required quotes for the project.

Yet, those same district officials have provided little information about the details of the bid violations, saying only that the employee involved has received a letter of reprimand and was required to undergo additional study of the district’s bid process. If that is so, someone should step forward to clarify the issue and resolve the payment to the contractor.

If there is more to the story – if the district is not fully disclosing the details – we deserve to know as well.

The Natchez-Adams School District’s budget tops $40 million each year. It’s imperative that the supervisors, the board of trustees and, yes, even the project managers be fiscally responsible and accountable. Even on the &uot;small&uot; projects.