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A special board meeting called for Jonesborough K-8

Robert Houk • Jun 7, 2019 at 12:00 AM

The chairman of the Washington County Board of Education said Thursday he will call a special meeting of the board to decide how to proceed with a new plan for a K-8 school in Jonesborough.

“I want to discuss what will happen next in Jonesborough,” Keith Ervin told his colleagues at their regular monthly meeting, which was still going on at deadline.

The Washington County Commission unanimously rejected the last plan for the K-8 school — referred to as Scheme 6 — at its meeting on May 22. That plan called for renovating Jonesborough Middle School and adding about 64,000 square feet to the building.

Board of Education members approved Scheme 6 in October following nearly three years of debate and failed votes on previous plans.

Commissioners said they were against pursuing Scheme 6 without a clear plan for funding construction of the estimated $20.7 million school. Both the county’s Health, Education and Welfare and the Budget committees declined to take a position on Scheme 6.

Instead, commissioners were asked last month to debate a resolution noting a 7-cent property tax increase might be needed to fund borrowing at least $57 million for the Jonesborough K-8 and other key school capital projects. State law requires half that amount to be shared with Johnson City schools.

In other business, board members heard a progress report on the new Boones Creek K-8 school. Tommy Burleson, the project manager, said work on the school — slated to open when the new school year begins in August — is now more than 85 percent complete.

“We are getting there,” Burleson said. “The weather has cooperated.”

Board members also voted to make replacement of a boiler at David Crockett High School — at a cost of $196,000 — a priority of the school system’s capital needs. Members also directed Bill Flanary, the county’s director of schools, to ask the County Commission for help help in paying for the expenditure.

“I’d like to see us get the ball rolling,” Board member Mitch Meredith said.

The board later tabled action on spending $220,000 to replace the cooling tower at the Jonesborough Middle School. Ervin  said he wanted to take up that matter when the board met in a special decision to discuss what to do next about the K-8 school project.

Board members also voted to award Flanary a $1,350 salary bonus based on his latest performance evaluation.

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