When DeKalb County Schools discovered a potential $36.5 million shortfall and wanted to take $1.13 million away from Dunwoody High projects, District 1 school board member Nancy Jester asked if the school’s contractor had finished all the work on the school’s recent $20 million renovation.

The contractor did, according to parents at the school and David Stone, project manager for Birmingham, Ala.-based Doster Construction Company. Stone said company officials met with parents and DeKalb County Schools officials and all parties agreed the company did its job. The contractor installed new mechanical and electrical systems, added third-floor classrooms to the building and built a new auditorium. The company completed the renovations in June 2011.

The $1.13 million was left over because the project came in under budget and parents wanted to use it for other things. The school planned to spend approximately $441,000 of the money repair the south parking lot, the biggest item on the list and something not in the original renovation contract.

The school system is proposing cutting $31 million in projects county-wide in order to offset a short fall in sales tax money for school construction. On March 12, the board postponed making those cuts to see if school officials can find the money elsewhere.

Stone said those additional items Dunwoody High wants are not his company’s responsibility.

“In a nutshell, it was agreed that Doster is complete with the work they were contracted to perform,” Stone said. “There were additional scope items being requested by the school. However, this additional work is not in Doster’s contract to perform and was never authorized by DeKalb County Schools.”

Jester first asked whether the renovations were fully completed after school officials notified the board of the shortfall. She initially said she did not want to approve the cuts because she thought it would take away the school system’s leverage to make the contractor finish Dunwoody High. She said on March 13 she agrees the other projects are DeKalb Schools’ responsibility, not Doster’s.

“It is my understanding that the DeKalb County School District considers Doster to have performed everything asked of them,” Jester said. “The remaining items are the responsibility of the DeKalb County School District to finish and they have taken ownership of them.”

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of Decaturish.com