ROGERSVILLE - Clinch School Principal Linda Long asked the Hawkins County Commission Monday to fund a proposed building project at her school, as well as the entire $38 million phase three school building project.
Long was the second principal in as many County Commission meetings to address commissioners about the need for improvements at her school. Last month, newly appointed Bulls Gap School Principal Sharon Southern told commissioners of the safety and security issues at her aging school and asked for the Bulls Gap classroom addition and renovation project to be funded.
The main difference between the two is that the County Commission's Education Committee recently expressed interest in moving forward with the Bulls Gap project. The Clinch School project, however, was removed from consideration by the Education Committee by a vote of 5-2.
Long told commissioners Monday morning that an invitation she gave them in April to visit Clinch School and determine for themselves if there is a need for building improvements still stands.
"To my knowledge, Clinch is the only school in Hawkins County that still has modular units, and I think one of the goals in the building project was to get rid of these things," Long said. "We have six, they're over 25 years old, and they're just not conducive to any type of instruction. They need to go, and there's so many issues in the main building that if I stood here and named them all we'd be here for a while."
There are two proposals on the table for Clinch School.
The Board of Education voted in favor of a new $9 million school building, but there are also plans drawn for a $5 million classroom addition and renovation project. When the BOE met with the community at the school in March, the vast majority of Clinch residents said they'd prefer to see a new school built.
Last week the commission's Education Committee voted 5-2 to request that Cumberland Securities, which issues bonds on behalf of the county, provide the Budget Committee with figures on financing the Bulls Gap aspect of phase three, as well as a 12-classroom addition project at both main high schools.
Left off of the phase three project was Clinch School and a new fifth- and sixth-grade school in Church Hill.
"Please don't leave Clinch out, or any other school in this county," Long told the commission. "These are all of our children. I had children that attended Hawkins County Schools, and I want all of kids to have the same benefits - to be in schools that are safe and brought up to 2007 standards."