School system’s roofing project currently delayed

Warren County School’s first project completed with federal stimulus money has been put on hold, hinting that using ESSER funds in a timely manner may be easier said than done.

The County Financial Management Committee met on June 24 and approved a $714,075 offer for roofing material for Warren County Middle School. Funding would come from ESSER 2 grant money. Warren County Schools has until September 2023 to use those funds.

“This is our first ESSER project to come to you for approval,” said Director of Schools Grant Swallows at the committee meeting.

That project was received by JDH Company of Chattanooga. After Thursday evening’s meeting, the green light was given to proceed. JDH Company was given 90 days to complete the project. A lump sum of $200 per day for each consecutive calendar day the company exceeds that time frame may be imposed.

On June 28, four days later, Swallows notified the Warren County Board of Education that a problem has arisen that is likely to lead to completion in 2022.

“We received a message from them today. They’re concerned about materials,” said Swallows, recounting what he was told, “We’ve said at every step that we’re concerned about getting materials. The contract calls for 90 days, but the materials are way behind. So we may be looking at the first of the year before we get materials.”

Most contractual agreements take into account force majeure, which refers to an event or effect that cannot reasonably be foreseen or controlled by either party. If JDH Company is found not guilty of the delay, the financial damages may be waived.

Warren County School System has been awarded two ESSER grants: ESSER 1.0 and ESSER 2.0. The school system is in the process of gaining approval for ESSER 3.0. The two approved grants will expire in September 2022 and September 2023.

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