A hearing was to be held last Friday in Chancery Court with regard to the Simpson County School District’s plans to proceed with a $27,625,000 capital lease to pay for a new consolidated high school for Simpson County.
Chancellor David Shoemake conducted the hearing. A last minute electronic appeal was filed on behalf of Thomas Ray Floyd, Lee McCoy and Jason McCoy, who have opposed the new facility publically. Attorney George S. Whitten, Jr. of Greenwood represents the group.
Judge Shoemake informed the plaintiffs that the only issues that could be discussed were those included in the filing by Whitten, who was not available for the hearing because of scheduling issues. Judge Shoemake referred the case to Judge Gerald Martin, who was originally scheduled to hear it but was unable to do so because of personal matters.
According to Shoemake the case had been assigned on a random basis and since it had to be rescheduled it would be heard by Chancelor Martin on June 30 at 9:30 a.m. in Raleigh.
The complaint contends that the school board does not have the authority to commit funding for a capital lease. In addition, the plaintiffs contend that only under a State of Emergency does the school board have such authority, and based on there not being a stated emergency, the board did not have authority to commit to the funding of the new high school. Some other technicalities were pointed out regarding procedural issues cited in the complaint.
Representing the school district when the complaint was submitted was Simpson County School Board attorney Wesla Leach. Danny Cowart, chairman of the school board, was in the gallery.
A conference call was made and Judge Shoemake with Sullivan and Whitten agreed to provide briefs for Judge Martin before the hearing.
Notice of the hearing had been published in the June 9 publication of The Magee Courier and the Simpson County News.
In a statement published June 17 on the Facebook page “Simpson County Folks,” Lee McCoy reported on the court proceedings and invited Simpson County taxpayers who oppose the school district’s effort to finance the consolidated school to join the opposition as official Objectors.
He said, “Any Simpson County taxpayer may now join the objection. If you oppose the Simpson County School Board’s attempt to force a $27,625,000 on you (and the significant increase in your ad valorem taxes) you should join us as an Objector.”
He also asked the public for help to cover the legal fees and court costs incurred in filing the objection. “We have very limited funding and we need you help,” he said.