School board honors Manahan and Hunter at Monday meeting

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Nov 5, 2018 at 8:58 PM

Shortly before Monday’s Johnson City Board of Education meeting, board members and district officials hosted a reception for John Hunter and Richard Manahan to honor their time on the board.

After serving on the board for the past five years, John Hunter first announced his plans to run for Johnson City Commission in April at the end of his term following Tuesday’s election. The Republican-endorsed candidate will likely be elected to serve as a new Johnson City commissioner Tuesday evening.

“I’m excited to see the new board. Fresh eyes make a positive influence,” Hunter said of the school board election Tuesday, adding that he plans to be an advocate for public education on the commission.

Months after Hunter’s decision was announced, longtime board member Manahan also announced in August that he would not run for re-election in Tuesday’s election, citing his desire to “take a break” to spend more time with family and engage in activities at Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church.

Manahan served on the Johnson City school board since 1999, with the exception of a two-year break from 2007 to 2009.

Manahan said he hopes that the board will continue to advocate for teacher raises when he leaves his seat, and added that he hopes public school officials will stand up to rhetoric advocating diverting public school funds to charter schools.

And Manahan hinted that he might be back on the board in the future.

“I’ve enjoyed the school board. I just think every once in a while, you need to take a break,” he said. “That doesn’t mean I won’t run again in two years.”

Following the reception, the board held its monthly meeting and discussed its building projects update after celebrating the board’s recent Tennessee School Board Association recognition of Johnson City Schools as Board of the Year and giving special recognition to Hunter and Manahan's time on the board.

Officials discussed progress on the Indian Trail Intermediate School and Liberty Bell Middle School comparability study ahead of the district’s plans to turn each school into two middle schools for grades 5-8 by the 2021-22 school year.

The final comparability study report, which will include facility recommendations and suggestions to “provide equivalent program spaces” and cost estimates for each recommendation, will be completed in November and proposed to present to the board at the first meeting in December.

After breaking ground on Liberty Bell’s new gym and cafeteria Oct. 15, officials estimate the $9.4 million project to be completed sometime in March 2020.