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Summer vacation draws to a close for Sullivan, Kingsport students

Rick Wagner • Jul 31, 2016 at 2:00 PM

KINGSPORT — Summer vacation is over come Monday morning for about 21,000 students across Sullivan County, and it is over or close to over for students in other Northeast Tennessee and far Southwest Virginia systems.

But before the buses hit the road, parents and students have been out this weekend in Tennessee making sales tax-free purchases of school supplies and computers. 

Come Monday, Aug. 1, more than 10,000 students in Sullivan County, more than 7,000 in Kingsport and about 4,000 in Bristol, Tennessee, will be headed back to school for 2016-17 by yellow school bus, private passenger vehicles and walking. Schools in neighboring Washington County start Tuesday, Aug. 2; while Johnson City starts Wednesday, Aug. 3; Hawkins County Monday, Aug. 8; and Rogersville City School starts Monday. Aug. 15. Scott County, Virginia, schools also start Aug. 15; while Norton City schools start Tuesday, Aug. 9; Wise County schools start Thursday, Aug. 4; and Lee County schools start Thursday, Aug. 18.

All these schools will have a half-day or abbreviated student attendance the first day, except for Kingsport and Wise County, which start the year with a full school day, according to school calendars posted online from each system.

“We’ve got over 7,000 students who are going to be on the road, on street and car and in buses and walking,” Kingsport Assistant Superintendent Andy True said. He said drivers need to be aware that school buses from Kingsport and Sullivan County will be on the roads transporting students.

Also, True said the school system’s Chief Human Resources Officer Jennifer Guthrie is keeping a close watch on enrollment trends to determine if additional teachers are needed in any city schools or if positions need to be moved based on enrollment trends the first few weeks of school.

Kingsport City Schools held a Back to School Expo on July 26, at the Kingsport Town Center, where 70 community agencies and businesses with a focus on children had tables, exhibits and demonstrations. The Dobyns-Bennett High School band and D-B cheerleaders were among those who took part, as well as wrestlers and gymnastics performers.

Although classes start Monday, area high school bands and football teams have already been practicing and scrimmaging, including a D-B scrimmage held Friday evening, July 29, after a band tailgating event at the D-B track. A planned band halftime show preview was cancelled because of the scrimmage’s rain delay.

In addition, tax-free weekend in Tennessee this year runs from Friday, July 29, through Sunday, July 31. As in past years, consumers in Tennessee will not pay state or local sales tax on clothing, school and art supplies that cost $100 or less per item and computers that cost $1,500 or less. However, some items are still taxed, including pocketbooks. The savings approach almost 10 cents on every dollar.

During neighboring Virginia’s sales tax holiday on Aug. 5-7, consumers can purchase qualifying school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items, and Energy Star and WaterSense products without paying sales tax. The latter are geared toward emergency preparedness. The savings there are a little more than five cents on each dollar spent.

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