ELIZABETHTON — For the past five years the Elizabethton City School System has experienced increases in enrollment, and that trend has continued with the start of this year.
“We are up 122 students since May,” Superintendent of Schools Ed Alexander told the school board during Thursday’s meeting. He told the board the extra students mean a significant increase in revenue for the system.
He said Beth Wilson, the system’s finance director, told him the additional students mean an additional $311,000 in educational funding from the state. Noting that many of the students are from outside the city limits and pay tuition, Alexander said the figure provided by Wilson “does not even count tuition.”
The increased enrollment led to board action to create three additional teaching positions. One was a kindergarten position at Harold McCormick, giving the school four classes for its 79 kindergarteners.
The other two new teaching positions will be at West Side. One was a kindergarten position, giving the school three classes for its 53 kindergarten students. The final position was a third-grade teacher.
The enrollment numbers currently stand at 2,362 for the city’s three elementary schools, T.A. Dugger Jr. High School and Elizabethton High School. That is up from 1,998 during the 2007-08 school year.
In other matters, board member Catherine Armstrong asked about the school system’s unassigned fund balance. Wilson said at the end of the fiscal year June 30, the fund stood at $891,800.31. She said that was more than the required 3 percent the school system must maintain in the unassigned fund balance.
Armstrong changed her usual practice of voting against the monthly budget reconciliations whenever it contains a payment to the board’s legal consultants, the Memphis law firm of Jackson, Shields, Yeiser and Holt. On Thursday, Armstrong passed instead of voting against the reconciliation.
Board member Connie Baker objected that the entire board should be included in communications from the law firm.
“All of us should have the right to know what he said,” Baker told the board. She said that point was discussed during a recent school law conference she attended.
Elizabethton High School Principal Danny O’Quinn said farewell to the board. He is stepping down at the high school in order to take the position of assistant director of the Tennessee Technology Center at Elizabethton. Today is his last day as principal.
“I appreciate your support,” O’Quinn told the school board. “Mr. Alexander, I thank you for hiring me as a history teacher 11 years ago.” He apologized for the timing of his resignation, but said it could not be helped.
On Monday, John Wright will be moving from his spot as T.A. Dugger assistant principal to take over as the high school’s new principal.
The board also was honored by the Employee Support of the Guard and Reserve, a staff organization within the U.S. Department of Defense.
Retired Lt. Col. Brad Moffitt presented an award to the board in recognition of the school system’s support of employees who are mobilized or attend military training.
Moffitt said the award was only presented to employers who have received praise from an employee who is in the National Guard or Reserves. The employee who recommended the school system was Eric Wampler, an assistant principal at T.A. Dugger. Wampler is a member of the Tennessee Air National Guard and has been on numerous deployments to the Middle East in the past few years.
Board Secretary Clara Perkins was singled out by Wampler for her support.
Col. James Cross said the board was the only school board in the region to receive the honor.
The board also recognized T.A. Dugger student Danielle Vines for winning the 14-year-old tennis qualifier as a 12-year-old and attaining the ranking of 10th in a field of 128 in the Florida Clay Court national competition.