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Towne Acres pick for some students in annexation area

March 5th, 2012 10:26 pm by Madison Mathews

Towne Acres pick for some students in annexation area

If the City Commission approves the annexation along portions of Suncrest Drive and Old Boones Creek Road, some of those students living in those areas will be assigned to attend Towne Acres Elementary.
The Johnson City Board of Education unanimously approved the recommendation made by Superintendent of Schools Richard Bales during Monday night’s meeting.
Board member Jenny Brock and Vice Chairman Richard Manahan were absent from the meeting.
Just last week, the City Commission deferred the first reading on the Suncrest Annexation, which consists of more than 300 acres along Suncrest Drive. There are 0.941 miles of new right-of-way included in the proposed annexation area.
A total of 45 single-family and 44 multi-family units are in the area, with approximately 24 students in K-12.
The Old Boones Creek Annexation consists of nearly 190 acres along Old Boones Creek Road, with 0.18 miles of new right-of-way included in the annexation.
A total of 13 single-family units are in that area. The number of school-age children is unknown.
“If it moves forward, we do need to identify which school students would be moved to,” Chairwoman Kathy Hall said.
The board also approved another recommendation pertaining to how they will handle tuition students for the 2012-13 school year.
Tuition students are students who live outside the city limits.
Superintendent of Schools Richard Bales said city schools have not had any space for those students in several years, but the system’s recent building projects have opened up more space for those students.
Tuition students will be accepted on a space-available basis at North Side Elementary from kindergarten to fourth grade, Liberty Bell Middle School in seventh and eighth grades and Science Hill High School from ninth to 12th grade.
“That would not include any siblings of tuition students who will be at that school next year, so the families would not be disrupted,” Bales said.
The board also voted to partner with The Confucius Institute in order to begin teaching Chinese at both North Side Elementary and Liberty Bell Middle School.
The Confucius Institute is a non-profit, public institute with the goal of promoting Chinese language and culture, and supporting local Chinese teaching internationally through affiliated institutes around the world.
The institute has agreed to match funds next year to bring two Chinese teachers from China at the combined cost of $30,000.
In addition to the those costs, the school system would be responsible for transportation, housing and insurance, bringing the overall total to about $40,000.
Board member Tim Belisle voted against the proposal.
“I think I’m probably going to vote against this just for the simple reason that I think this is an exciting opportunity for our students but in the environment we’re facing budget-wise, even $30,000 is a significant amount for us. If it’s a program that is well-received and we want to fund it into the future, I just have a hard time saying we can do this when we’re having trouble funding the other real basic kind of stuff,” he said.
A Chinese program is already offered through dual enrollment at the high school level.
In other business, the board voted against prioritizing its list of facility needs at Science Hill, opting instead to present them as a full list of needs to the commission.
The list includes a hub roof, cafe tables and painting totaling $275,375, which has already been budgeted by the board. The additional needs total more than $1.5 million for such things as keypads and installation for security systems, shelving, wireless capabilities and additional electrical needs.

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