North Pike School District Superintendent Dennis Penton gave the board an update regarding a district road project Thursday night at their regular meeting.
Penton said talks with the Pike County board of supervisors about resurfacing a well-traveled county road maintained by the school district are stalled amid a lack of communication and apparent end-of-term apathy.
“I’m hopeful that the new board of supervisors will give us some help,” he said.
The school district has been touting a potential paving project along Jaguar Trail, a treelined and mostly gravel road encircling the North Pike School District main campus from Horace Holmes Drive in the west to Jaguar Trail in the north. Trustees are calling it the North Pike Upper Elementary paving project.
The road is badly damaged due to the last year of near-constant construction and is littered with potholes. The board unanimously authorized Penton to bring the matter up to the county board of supervisors in September.
Facing a lack of availability of private road crews over the summer, due to increased demand for infrastructure projects in that timeframe, Penton sought to contract the work with Pike County road crews directly. Penton said doing so would keep tax dollars within the county and would not impose any burden on the board of supervisors. He said although the county work crews are public, the school district would still be responsible for financing the work.
That sort of agreement represents a creative approach to problem solving that would benefit both the school district and the county, Penton said.
Penton said he met three times with the board of supervisors to ask for their consideration of an interlocal agency agreement. North Pike would contract the road work on Jaguar Circle with the county and North Pike would pay for it.
Supervisors told Penton they would go with the county road foreman to the site to look at and discuss the problem. They told Penton they would contact him to set a meeting to look at Jaguar Circle. Nobody got back to Penton, so he contacted the board again.
The board informed Penton the county road foreman had been out to Jaguar Circle and determined the county would not offer assistance on the project. Supervisors apparently told Penton the road crew would not be able to assist in the project because of other projects already underway. The road crew would need to pull out of other projects in order to offer any assistance.
Penton told the board there is no rush to start the project and the school district is willing to wait until the county road crew is available. He said he reinforced the position that the school district would pay for the work and that he hoped to work with the county crew in the interest the efficient use of tax dollars.
“I don’t understand, to be frank,” Penton said.
He said the value of an interlocal agreement of this nature is high, because it would make efficient use of tax dollars. It would also keep those monies within the county where they originated.
Penton told the board he made three attempts in good faith to solicit help from the board of supervisors.
“Each time I’ve received positive affirmation, but we’re yet to receive any assistance,” he said. “Hopefully in January, the new supervisors will help us out,” Penton said.