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June 21--  The Montgomery County school system issued a statement Tuesday in response to a lawsuit filed earlier this month by DeLoach Architects of Macon.

Deloach wants a judge to order the school system to pay the balance of fees charged for design of a middle/high school.  The project was later cancelled after voters defeated a school bond referendum to finance construction.

School Superintendent Randy Rodgers says DeLoach has already been paid $593,347 and wants another $175,000.

"The board wants to pay what we should pay.  The contract was based on an estimate of the school costing $17 million.  That was to have been perfected when the bid was let.  The actual cost of the architect's fees would have been based on what the actual cost of what the school would have been.  In the absence of having bid the job, Mr. DeLoach says he's going to use the original estimated figures."

According to Rodgers, former School Superintendent Dr. Lynn Batten felt the architect's commission should have been based on a $15 million estimate because that is what comparable schools were costing when the design was done back in 2009.

"Dr. Batten went out and got cost estimates based on what schools were going for per square foot if it had been bid at the time the bond issue referendum was held.  His figures were based on a $15 million figure versus a $17 million figure and that apparently is not satisfactory to Mr. DeLoach," Rodgers says.

The superintendent says the school board is pursuing legal remedies to avoid excessive payments for a set of plans for a school that is not being built.  

"My impression of the feelings expressed by the majority of the Board of Education is that if the costs are legitimate, the board very much wants to meet their obligation.  It the cost projections that the invoice is based on are not accurate, it is their responsibility to be good stewards of the community's money by challenging it.  That's what this process is all about," he stated.