Sullivan County school officials also honored winners of a first-ever Christmas card contest, a student who got a perfect ACT score, and approved the 2018-19 school calendar.
The Board of Education, at its regular meeting on Monday, heard public comment from Marysusan Dougherty, who urged the board to reconsider plans that do not include a pool for the new high school off Lynn Road, off Exit 63 of Interstate 81, where a groundbreaking is to be held early next year. The plan, outlined earlier this year, is to have the new school’s swim team practice at Central’s pool about three miles from the new school. BOE Chairman Michael Hughes said after the meeting said that is still the plan. School board member Mark Ireson said he continues to hear constituent concerns about the lack of a pool.
“The problem with the Central pool is we only have five lanes,” Dougherty said after the meeting. “The facility at Central isn’t big enough.”
All Sullivan South and North zone students, and most or all of Central students, are to be served by the new $60 million, 1,700-student school set to open in 2020. South, slated to become a county middle school, has a pool; North has one but it is not used, and the school is to become a Kingsport middle school. Initial discussions with architects indicated the pool could come at a cost of $5 million.
She said that a pool at the yet-to-be-named high school, with space for spectators lacking at other facilities, actually could make money and could provide a venue for students not on the swim team to at least learn to tread water in an emergency. She also said the middle of the county lacks aquatic facilities like school pools, the Kingpsport Aquatic Center and the YMCA in Bristol. She was among parents who rallied around a call to repair the Central pool when it fell into disrepair almost a decade ago. She said that pool is still needed for Central as a middle school feeding into the new high school.
In other action, the board:
— Honored three high school, three middle school and three elementary school students chosen for producing the best Christmas card artwork among more than 100 entries. All three high school winners came from Sullivan East High: seniors Rebekah Gobble, Bethany Leonard and Erin Sharp. The middle school winners were eighth-grader Elizabeth Bradshaw of Mary Hughes, Hennesey Long Jaw of Blountville Middle and Malachi Paloian of Bluff City Middle. And elementary winners were Miller Perry fourth-grader Sam Perry, Emmett fourth-grader Nick Rose, Indian Springs third-grader Akiera Templeton and Ketron fifth-grader Chloe Whitt.
— Honored Central High senior Clay Moody, who made a perfect 36 on the ACT. Moody, who plans to pursue an engineering degree in college, is student body president, vice president of the school’s National Honor Society chapter and a member of the Beta Club and soccer team.
— Approved the 2018-19 calendar, adopting the calendar chosen by almost 78 percent of more than 3,000 respondents in an online survey. The calendar includes the start of school Aug. 6, fall break Oct. 15-19, Thanksgiving break Nov. 21-23. Christmas break starting Dec. 21 with a half-day until returning Jan. 7, Martin Luther King Day Jan. 21, spring break March 25-29, April 19 off for Good Friday and the last day, May 23, a half day.
— Approved increased charter school application and annual fees, as allowed by Tennessee law, gave standardized tests a weight of 15 percent in final grades as long as the scores are available within five days of the last school day and beefed up attendance policies for voluntary pre-K classses,