Whitney, School Disagreement Continues

When last we reported on the disagreement between the Whitney Benefits and Sheridan School District boards regarding funding of a proposed multi-recreational center, here’s the question that was raised.

Why can the multi-million dollar Whitney foundation fund projects like the Green House senior living complex and a program at the Bradford Brinton historical museum, but not a community recreational facility?

At that time, we’d learned that the two projects, as well as others, used Sheridan College as a conduit for the money to pass through to be given to the various organizations.

As promised, we contacted Sheridan College President Dr. Paul Young and Whitney Board Member Roy Garber to understand why this was OK. Young said both projects fit, because they’re providing educational opportunities -- medical training at the senior complex and art instruction for students at the Brinton.

Garber said the answer simply lies in the bricks and mortar. He said the Whitney foundation, as per the limitations of the will it’s based on, cannot fund a building they would not own.

He said the fundamental issue here is not why Whitney Benefits said no to funding the project, by the fact that they did. He said the school board leaders think they should automatically qualify because 10 of the 13 Whitney board members are appointed by the school district. So they should reap the rewards.

That message was clear, he said, from the verbiage in the letter written by their attorney to the Whitney board. The attorney states that he hopes “the Whitney Board members appointed by the Sheridan County School District 2 Board of Trustees will look favorably on those proposals coming before the Whitney Board later this spring.

School board Chairman Rich Bridger, however, in an interview last week, said that was not the intent.

In the same interview, school board member Scott Hininger agreed, then said, again, that he and his fellow board members know that their appointees to the Whitney board are not obligated to approve School District 2 projects.

To read previous stories written on the topic, which include copies of the letters mentioned, see links below.

March 16, 2014 -- Whitney Benefits, School District Dispute Causes Confusion -- http://www.sheridanmedia.com/new...
March 13, 2014 -- School Board Chair Accuses Whitney President of Creating Conflict -- http://www.sheridanmedia.com/new...
February 28, 2014 -- Whitney President Says Can't Support School District Projects -- http://www.sheridanmedia.com/new...

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