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UPDATED: Commissioners cancel meetings with schools

The Columbus County commissioners voted 6-1 Monday night to cancel a series of scheduled meetings with the county and city boards of education and the Southeastern Community College board of trustees.

Commissioners usually meet with their counterparts on the school and college boards during their budget preparation process, but Commissioner Buddy Byrd made a motion, seconded by Ricky Bullard, to cancel the meetings this year because they already are so far along in their annual budget process.

Chairman Amon McKenzie disagreed and voted “no,” but all other commissioners favored Byrd’s motion.

McKenzie didn’t give a reason for his vote against the motion.

The first session had been scheduled Tuesday night with the Whiteville City Board of Education. Meetings also had been scheduled next week, Tuesday with the SCC board of trustees and Wednesday with the county school board.

Gail Edwards, assistant to County Manager Mike Stephens, notified the school systems and college of the commissioners’ decision in a Tuesday morning email.

Neither Columbus County Supt. Alan Faulk nor Whiteville Supt. Kenny Garland would comment on the cancellation.  SCC President Dr. Tony Clarke said, ‘I am pleased that we were able to present our operational and capital budget needs to the commissioners in April. The students, faculty, staff and Board of Trustees of Southeastern Community College are hopeful that we will receive the financial support we need for the security and functionality of our campus, and to enable us to continue to promote educational attainment and job readiness in Columbus County.”

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