"We were not surprised by any of the testimony we heard." -Regina Jackson, Bowling Green Independent Schools Attorney
Saturday marked the third and final day of an administrative hearing between Bowling Green Independent Schools and Warren County Schools. Just like the first two days of the hearing things started out with witness testimony. Unlike the first two days, the testimony did not center around the 2001 contract. Rather, it centered around budget cuts and finance.
Warren County's Chief Financial Officer was called to the stand first and was asked about a comment made in a 2012 audit that rated the school system in good financial condition.
Bowling Green Independent Schools Attorney Regina Jackson: "Would you also agree that growth is a challenge in Warren County?"
Warren County CFO Willie McElroy: "Student growth is a challenge and an opportunity both."
Bowling Green Independent Schools Attorney: "I didn't see the work opportunity in the audit. I only saw challenge."
Willie McElroy also stressed the hardship that budget cuts were causing the school system by testifying the school hasn't offered an employee raise in 4 years and has delayed the purchase of new buses for 3 years. After a few more witnesses took the stand the hearing ended leaving the decision soley in the hands of the hearing officer.
"I don't think that there's any question that we showed that in these times of financial problems in schools, and the millions of dollars in cuts Warren County Schools received over the years that the Warren County School Board had an obligation. The obligation to its constituents to take measures and to continue to take measures for the schools finances so it can provide the best quality education for children." said Warren County Attorney, Bart Darrell.
"We were not surprised by any of the testimony we heard. We were able to show that Warren County's action is arbitrary and it's going to have a very negative impact on Bowling Green City schools." added Regina Jackson.
Before Saturday's hearing ended both sides were able to make closing arguments. Warren County Schools's argument centered around the 2001 agreement and the fact that the superintendents at the time didn't consult their school boards, making the agreement null and void. Bowling Green Independent's closing statement centered around the fact that Warren County had plenty of opportunities to warn Bowling Green Independent they wanted to change the agreement. However, they failed to do so. The hearing officer is expected to make his decision by the weekend of July 26-28.