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Updated: School board passes Jonesborough 'Scheme 6' for K-8 facility

Jessica Fuller • Updated Oct 4, 2018 at 9:01 AM

A plan for the future Jonesborough K-8 school is moving past the Washington County Board of Education after members passed “Scheme 6” near the end of a four-hour meeting Tuesday night.

Chad Fleenor made the motion during the board’s roundtable discussion at the end of the meeting, and Todd Ganger seconded the motion. It passed in a 5-4 vote with additional support from Jason Day, David Hammond and Mitch Meredith.

Fleenor said when asked for comment on Wednesday that he decided to try and push the plan through so it would “force a conversation with (the county commission) about the future of Jonesborough schools.”

“It just didn’t need to be kicked down the road anymore,” he added.

Architect Tony Street introduced ”Scheme 5” and “Scheme 6” in the board’s July meeting, and the board voted to hold off voting on the plans in that meeting. “Scheme 6” is within the school’s budget and consists of renovating the current Jonesborough Middle School building while adding about 64,000 square feet to the building. The school would house about 1,000 students.

The plan would also leave the current Jonesborough Elementary School building standing. Director of Schools Bill Flanary said there is not a plan yet for current Jonesborough Middle School students while the building is renovated.

Ganger motioned to pass “Scheme 6” in last month’s regular meeting, but it failed in a 5-4 vote with Hammond, Dellinger, Buchanan, McLain and Ervin voting against it at the time.

“I’ve sat here for two years and fought this fight,” Ganger said in Tuesday’s meeting. “And for two years I’ve sat here and listened to board members say we need to listen to the people of Jonesborough, we need to listen to them. And now the people of Jonesborough are saying they want Scheme 6.”

Hammond’s vote is what changed the decision in favor of “Scheme 6.”

He said Wednesday that his decision changed from last month after he consulted the Jonesborough community about their wishes in addition to speaking with Street about issues with plumbing, cafeteria space and a playground.

He admitted that “Scheme 6” isn’t ideal for him, and said his vote didn’t change without a lot of thought.

“We really didn’t have a choice with the funds available,” he said. “Part of the deal was the parents wanted their kids out of the round (building) and this takes care of that. It was a tough decision, but we follow the parents, and they’re happy and want us to proceed.”

McLain, Dellinger, Buchanan and Ervin voted against the motion in Tuesday’s meeting. Dellinger said she wants to hold out for “Scheme 4,” a plan that would build a new K-4 until the system can afford to add on to the building to make it into a K-8 in the future.

Ervin and McLain said they wanted to wait until a joint meeting with the county commission about the project and available funding. Ervin maintained he would ideally like to see “Scheme 2” moving forward, the plan that would give a brand new K-8 school at about $6 million over the current budget.

The problem with waiting, pointed out at earlier meetings by maintenance director Phillip Patrick, is that the Jonesborough Elementary and Middle schools need new roofs within the next couple of years, among other costs related to upkeep of the aging buildings. Hammond said he is against waiting because he feels like it will cost the system more in the long run.

“If we try to wait and accumulate money, we were going to be facing inflated costs of construction and labor,” he said.

The next step is normally for the motion to come to the county Budget and Health, Education and Welfare committees for consideration before going to the county commission. The Health, Education and Welfare committee met Wednesday afternoon, but Flanary said the board’s decision came at too short of notice to be considered.

“Heath, Education and Welfare has historically required a five-day notice to have an item placed on their agenda,” he said in a statement to the Press. “New chairman Danny Edens indicated to me today that he would allow as few as two days’ notice if the situation required doing so.”

The Budget Committee meeting will be held Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Email Jessica Fuller at [email protected] Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.

 

 

 

Reported at 2:30 p.m. 

Officials confirmed that the Washington County Board of Education voted late Tuesday to pass another Jonesborough K-8 plan to a future county Health, Education and Welfare Committee. 

Chad Fleenor made the motion during the board’s roundtable discussion at the end of the meeting, and Todd Ganger seconded the motion. It passed in a 5-4 vote with additional support from Jason Day, David Hammond and Mitch Meredith.

“I know they’re going to kick it back to us, I just want to see where it goes,” Fleenor said.

“I’ve sat here for two years and fought this fight,” Ganger said. “And for two years I’ve sat here and listened to board members say we need to listen to the people of Jonesborough, we need to listen to them. And now the people of Jonesborough are saying they want Scheme 6.”

Architect Tony Street introduced ”Scheme 5” and “Scheme 6” in the board’s July meeting, and the board voted to hold off voting on the plans in that meeting. “Scheme 6” is within the school’s budget and consists of renovating the current Jonesborough Middle School building while adding about 64,000 square feet to the building. The plan would leave the current Jonesborough Elementary School building standing.

A motion to pass Scheme 6 last month failed in a 5-4 vote, with David Hammond, Mary Beth Dellinger, Annette Buchanan, Philip McLain and chairman Keith Ervin voting against it at the time.

Ervin held out that he still wants to see “Scheme 2” – the plan that would give Jonesborough a brand new school at about $6 million over budget – on the books, even if it means waiting a couple of years to get it.

He added that he wants to plan a joint workshop with the county commission before the board makes a decision. McLain agreed that he wanted to have a meeting with the new county commission before making a decision.

“I’m in favor of holding off on Scheme 6 until we get this meeting over with with the new commission,” Ervin said. “That’s the reason we took them to Boones Creek, I wanted them to see that school.” 

Check back with the Johnson City Press for more updates to this developing story. 

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