The Sampson County Board of Education is asking school officials to take a second look at how the county’s park and recreation department use their facilities.
During a recent work session, Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy presented the possible agreement, which would allow the Sampson County Parks and Recreation Department to use county schools athletic field for activities and athletic events.
The department is asking for a five-year agreement to begin in September and expire June 2020.
Board member G.H. Wilson said he believed the department was trying to force something on the school system quickly, since the board recently received the documents. He also questioned why the department could not contact individual principals about using their buildings or area.
Board member Telfair Simpson disagreed and said they can’t have a policy allowing a principal at every school to determine who can use a building. He said it would put too much pressure on the principals to schedule activities between the department and other individuals.
“How are they going to decide who can use that facility?” Simpson questioned. He said the department does a good job of running the program.
“They use our schools and facilities to do that and they take care of our schools and facilities. There were problems to begin with, but that’s transitioned.”
During the discussion, it was mentioned that a conflict existed between the Midway district and the rec department. Wilson said he believes it’s just a power play for the rec department to use the facilities.
About a year or two ago, Simpson said the Midway Athletic Advisory Board wanted to travel, but the football program did not.
“That’s where it all initiated from,” he said. “Everybody else in the county traveled, but Midway did not want to. But I’m not going to stop the rec department from supporting our students from all over the county in whatever region they are because you want to do your own thing.”
Simpson said the county attorney and the rec officials need to look at the program and make sure it fits everybody’s needs.
“I’m sure we can work around that,” Simpson said. “I’m sure we can put some language in there that allows you to use the football field and take care of them and reimburse the schools, if they’re going to reimburse the schools.”
Wilson said that’s what he wants to find out.
Board chairman Dewain Sinclair said they don’t have a problem with Midway doing their own program.
“The rec does quality service in other areas throughout the county and we do not need to jeopardize what they have going on,” he said. “I’m fine with the use of the Midway football field.”
Simpson noted football is starting in the other districts and questioned the insurance aspect as well.
Board member Mary Brown said the district should have their legal counsel examine the agreement. Some of the items discussed included maintenance and liability.
It will not be placed on the school agenda until officials have had time to look over it and send questions to the director if needed.