Is it a simple misunderstanding between the Hamilton county commission and the schools, or is it a political power play?
That's what many are asking as the two powerful boards seem unable to deal with the challenge of building new schools.
MIKE EVATT, CHAIRMAN, HAM. CO. SCHOOL BD. "I think holding up the architect selection..now....and wanting to control that money is purely political game."
The apparent breakdown of communications between the commission and the school board is again obvious after the commission refused to approve a contract for an architect for East Brainerd Elementary.
Commissioners say they want a facilities plan first.
Chairman Evatt says he has given the commission that information three times already.
The commission also wants to sell and hold under a revised 2011 interlocutory agreement, the money for the old East Brainerd and Ooltewah Elementary properties, which are actually deeded to the school board.
MIKE EVATT "The board has not ratified that." "They did it on their end..we have to approve it on our end...I have no intention of bringing it to the board"
DAVID TESTERMAN, SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER "The way it appears to me is that there's a major conflict within the county commission. I do not see the holdup as being the county school board."
Instead of the apparent impasse, some wonder why the two groups don't get in one room and settle all the questions. Commissioner Warren Mackey suggested that during the Wednesday meeting.
MIKE EVATT "We tried that, a year and a half ago, on Valentine's day..it was very counter-productive."
DAVID TESTERMAN "We've had this dream plan for years, but it takes the county commission to say, guys we're with you, we're going to provide you the money and this is the time-frame."
Evatt says the squabbling has delayed needed school construction, possibly for years.
One key sticking point between the two boards is a so-called "facilities plan".
Commissioners want to know at what stage the schools will need millions of dollars for new building.
School leaders say that depends on them knowing when the county can provide the 255-million dollars set aside.