Burgess honored, Unker to retire; school system in ‘good shape’

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By Phyllis McLaughlin

 Superintendent Lisa James led the Carroll County Board of Education in honoring Patty Burgess at the start of the board’s regular meeting Thursday, July 26.

Burgess is leaving after 17 years as the district’s director of food services. Lisa Gault of Carrollton recently was hired to fill the position.

James presented Burgess with a plaque, and board members praised Burgess for the work she had done over the years.

Later in the meeting, board member Tommy Unker announced that he would not seek re-election in November. He represents the county’s 1st District and will remain on the board until his term ends in December.

“I’ve given it a lot of thought and, after eight years of service, decided to retire,” he said.

“You’ve been a great asset to the board,” Chairman Mona Kindoll said, who added that she and Unker were elected to the school board the same year. “We will surely miss you in January.”

The meeting ended with a presentation from financial adviser Joe Nance of Ross, Sinclair and Associates in Lexington.

Nance gave an overview of the board’s bonding and debt service and told the board that it is in good standing, should the district decide to embark on another construction project in the near future.

Because of funding it has received from the state, which helps pay some of the district’s bond debt, and because the district is frugal with spending, Nance said the district could issue bonds for as much as $4.3 million “and still be in good shape for the future.”

He noted that the board also has $1.3 million saved in restricted funds that can only be used for building projects, meaning the board could undertake a building project for as much as $5.7 million.

“That’s really good news,” Nance told the board, noting that other districts he works with have far less bonding potential.

“The fact that you all save your money, we could do a project and not bond completely out,” he said. “I would say that Carroll County uses ‘best practices’ [financially]. You do a good job.