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Schools, BOC mend rift

By Justin Boron

jboron@news-daily.com

The bad blood is no more between the Clayton County Board of Commissioners and the county's public school system.

The county commission lowered the fees the school system pays for the county to collect its taxes Tuesday night at its meeting, allaying tension that stemmed from a disagreement the two governing bodies had on the funding of an aquatic center planned near the Harold R. Banke Justice Center.

It also voted to reimburse $167,319 collected under the higher fees, which could have sinched down considerably on the school system's budget.

The gesture came a day after the schools' superintendent announced a recent review of the school system recommended that it be absolved of its "warned status" by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Ericka Davis, chairwoman of the Board of Education, thanked the county commission for the move.

"It's good for us. It's good for the community," she said.

The tax fee issue had hung a shadow over the two governing body's relationship, with the school board threatening litigation.

But Superintendent Barbara Pulliam relayed a statement through the school spokesman, saying she had always expected the conflict to be resolved amicably.

"The school district had every confidence that the county commissioners would make decisions on behalf of our students and would demonstrate great generosity in returning the tax collection service fee to its previous percentage and in returning the dollars that had been collected over the past few months," she said.

County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell also said at the meeting, the two boards had been cooperating to mitigate an emerging gang problem in the community.

He said school system resources may be used to provide recreational services while the county government works toward building recreation centers with Special Purpose Local Option Sales tax funds.