Kingsport Times News Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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Update: School board postpones vote on potential North/South merger

March 22nd, 2013 1:51 pm by Rick Wagner

UPDATE: 2:58 p.m.


BLOUNTVILLE — The fate of the proposed merger of Sullivan North and South high schools won’t be decided March 28 as originally planned.


The Sullivan County school board’s scheduled vote on the recommendation of Director of Schools Jubal Yennie has been postponed, Yennie announced Friday afternoon. That means there will be no called board of Education meeting that day.


However, a Monday, March 25, community meeting on school closing and rezoning proposals in the North zone is still to occur. It has been moved from the originally set location of Ketron Elementary to the gymnasium of Sullivan North High School, starting at 7 p.m.


The meeting will be streamed with live video and audio at http://www.timesnews.net/ustream.php.


“Many Sullivan County parents, students and teachers have urged us to take more time in these deliberations, and we are honoring their  requests,” Yennie said in a news release. “We will slow down the process, continue to weigh options and gather additional information about projected student enrollment, school building utilizations and the impacts of potential rezonings.”


The North-South merger also would result in the closing of Colonial Heights Middle and the middle school portion of Sullivan Gardens K-8, with whichever high school not used for rezoning to be used for a single middle school for the North and South zones.


That was among three scenarios that went public Feb. 28. The other two, which Yennie did not recommend, were to close the South zone middle schools and put the sixth graders in elementary schools and the seventh and eighth graders at South High and to close Central Heights Elementary and Blountville Middle in the Central High zone. Central Heights students would be moved to Blountville Elementary, and the Blountville Middle students would be rolled into Holston Middle, which would become the zone’s lone middle school.


Yennie Friday reinterated the reasons for looking at the scenarios as making up a projected $3 million budget shortfall opponents of the plan say can be done in other ways, right-sizing a school system that has about 10,000 students but space for 15,000, becoming more efficient, using resources more equitably and facing the challenge of building deterioration, which opponents have said should have been handled over the years by better maintenance and upkeep.


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BLOUNTVILLE — The Sullivan County school board’s scheduled vote on whether to merge Sullivan North and South high schools has been postponed, Director of Schools Jubal Yennie announced Friday afternoon. The vote was scheduled to occur Thursday.


"Many Sullivan County parents, students and teachers have urged us to take more time in these deliberations, and we are honoring their requests," Yennie said. "We will slow down the process, continue to weigh options and gather additional information about projected student enrollment, school building utilizations and the impacts of potential rezonings."


The North-South merger also would result in the closing of Colonial Heights Middle and the middle school portion of Sullivan Gardens K-8, with whichever high school not used for rezoning to be used for a single middle school for the North and South zones.


For more on this story check back with Timesnews.net and read Saturday's print edition of the Times-News.

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