The love seemed palpable at a special Valentine's Day meeting of the Columbia County School Board.
Before the start of the Tuesday meeting, school board member Roxanne Whitaker was serenaded by a barbershop quartet, at the behest of her husband, with two love songs.
And at the end of the meeting, School Superintendent Tommy Price announced that the Georgia Supreme Court had shown the school board a little love.
The court decided Monday in a unanimous ruling that the board had the right to award a bid to build the new Evans Middle School to McKnight Construction Co., despite bidding irregularities.
"It was very big that it was unanimous," said Bill Fleming, the school board's attorney. "It was a validation of the school board's authority in this matter by the entire court."
In March 2004, the school board awarded McKnight an $11.3 million contract to build the school on Hereford Farm Road, even though the business failed to turn in a list of subcontractors for the project by the bid deadline.
The company turned in the list about two hours after the deadline passed.
Because McKnight was the lowest bidder, the board chose to waive the requirement and award it the bid.
R.D. Brown Contractors Inc., the second-lowest bidder for the project, filed an injunction against the board in superior court but was ruled against. The company appealed and argued the case before the Georgia Supreme Court in September.
"The invitation ... reserved the right to waive technicalities, as authorized by state law," Supreme Court Justice P. Harris Hines wrote in the decision.
"As the genesis of the specification concerning a list of subcontractors is solely by the board, we see no reason why the board could not determine that it was not a material requirement, but rather a technicality that could be waived."
Fleming said R.D. Brown could possibly sue for damages, but after the Supreme Court's decision, it is unlikely it would prevail.
R.D. Brown attorney Paul Dunbar said Tuesday evening that his client is undecided on filing another suit. He had no further comment on the court's decision.
In other action, the school board expressed its love for a school-sponsored fundraiser for the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Center at the Medical College of Georgia with a $2,260 donation.
Called "Going the Extra Mile for MCG's Children," the fundraiser works like a walk-a-thon, with school officials walking one yard for each dollar raised by each of the 22 schools participating.
The board's donation came with the caveat that Price walk a mile and the board members walk at least 100 yards.
"I think we can all do that without too much medical assistance," school board Chairman Wayne Bridges quipped.
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