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Gardenhour wants schools to be proactive to federal budget cuts

John Thompson • Jun 28, 2017 at 9:38 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Projections of future federal budget cuts to education were a dominant discussion in Wednesday’s meeting of the Elizabethton City School Board.

Director of Schools Corey Gardenhour said the board will need to hold discussions to “look at different options and recommendations” on how to meet the impact of these expected cuts.

Gardenhour said he did not want his statements to be too political, but he said the nation has gone from President Barack Obama, whom he said was “probably the most generous president for education we have had,” to a more conservative president.

Gardenhour said education is the nation’s  biggest entitlement and when the federal budget is cut, there would be cuts in education.

“Federal funding is absolutely essential to us,” Gardenhour said.

He spoke of cuts of 15 percent in Title I funding, and also cuts to Title IV, which covers school safety. He said $25,000 in safety grants will not be coming, but he said that through economizing, the needs for student safety will be met.

Gardenhour said the board should be considering the next five years. “We have to have a plan.”

He spoke of many ways to meet the challenge, such as rezoning and redistricting.

Board member Dr. Grover May said he has experienced similar changes when healthcare went through a series of changes implemented by the government. He said he did not think the driving force was political. May said economic forces govern and the GNP is slowing down, leading to the need for changes.

May said the school system’s changes should not be reactive, “but what is best for the students and our workforce.”

In other matters, the board approved a bid from D.H. Giffin Companies to demolish the home grandstands at T.A. Dugger Junior High School. The cost will be $88,800. Gardenhour said that included proper disposal of asbestos and possible lead-based paint and erecting fencing to prevent accidents once the stands are removed.

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