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School board one step closer to new home
Contract approved during meeting
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A deal to relocate the Dawson County Board of Education's central office to downtown Dawsonville could close next month.

During its meeting Monday night, the school board voted 3-0 to approve a contract with Community & Southern bank for the two vacant buildings at 28 Main St.

The buildings total 13,700 square feet. Under the plan, the former bank building will house the central office, while the community building will be used for teacher training and meetings.

The deal, which is set to close May 6, calls for the board to put $20,000 into an escrow account in promise to purchase the buildings.

According to the contract, which can be found online at the school system's Web site, the board then has 30 days to pay the remaining $1.3 million.

The motion was made by Roger Slaton and seconded by Cecil Bennett. Board member William Wade, who works for a competing bank, recused himself from the vote.

A new central office was among the projects voters approved in November 2009, when they agreed to a five-year extension of the 1-cent sales tax for education. The 2009 referendum passed with 77.7 percent of the vote.

The school district's existing administrative facility on Allen Street totals 6,750 square feet. The move downtown will also offer more parking, an increase from 24 spaces to more than 100.

After a 30-minute executive session following the March 11 monthly meeting, the board voted 3-0 to authorize Superintendent Keith Porter to negotiate with the bank. Wade also recused himself from that vote.

Porter has previously noted that the school system can't use sales tax revenue to "pay teacher salaries and benefits."

"If we had a choice, we would be using this money to put back in those calendar reduction days," he said.