School board discusses 50-acre land donation

Published 8:10 am Thursday, September 12, 2019

When a citizen wants to donate 50 acres of farm land to the county school system, it is an early Christmas present. However, discussions on how the unexpecting recipients should go about receiving such a gift provided unexpected roadblocks in the process.

County resident Louie Greene came before the Carter County School Board Monday evening to formally discuss donating his $500,000 worth of farm land to the school system, and a conversation ensued as to how the board would accept such a sizable donation, along with what stipulations prevent the current board from simply accepting the land right now.

Greene said he wanted to donate the property on Lovers Lane near the highway in order to honor the legacy of his parents.

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“I want to do it on behalf of my father,” Greene said.

He said the board can accept the land in two ways. The first is to accept the land right now, but until he dies, Greene will maintain managerial control over the property. The second would be to set it up in his will to give the land to the school board after he dies.

“I would want something from this board saying you would accept it,” Greene said.

The board members agreed doing the will approach would be the best approach.

“No control over its use limits our options,” school board attorney John Banks said.

However, he said he had issues with the second approach as Greene stated it.

“How can we bind the board 15 years down the road?” he said.

Board members expressed concern about the board changing after this initial decision. By the time the board needs to collect on roughly 50 acres of land, members who were not present for this vote will be tied to a decision they did not make.

“What if the board did say we would accept it?” Superintendent Kevin Ward said. “30 years down the road, what would the ramifications be?”

Ward clarified he did not believe anyone on the current or future school board would necessarily reject the donation, but they were concerned about accepting the donation in the right way.

“I appreciate what you are trying to do,” Banks said.

Ultimately, the board recommended Greene speak with his lawyer and draw up a will, which would let the board have a greater understanding of how the will can be phrased to make the donation process as smooth as possible.