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Sullivan County Board of Education officially takes North, South merger off table

October 7th, 2013 9:30 pm by Rick Wagner

Sullivan County Board of Education officially takes North, South merger off table

BLOUNTVILLE  — Sullivan County school board members officially took the merger of Sullivan North and Sullivan South high schools off the table Monday night.

Instead, the board opted to hire a consultant to study facilities’ needs and make recommendations, reflecting a consensus the board reached during a Saturday Board of Education strategic plan and work session.

BOE Chairman Dan Wells said the action suspends “earlier solution fixes,” including the controversial “scenario 3” released in the late winter that would have merged North and South into one building, make the other building a middle school and closed Colonial Heights Middle and the middle portion of Sullivan K-8.

Wells said the board, with Director of Schools Jubal Yennie’s input, would hold a called meeting in the next two weeks to form a request for proposals, interview the top three or so respondents and then hire a consultant. Yennie unveiled the consultant proposal to the board during the work session.

In other action, the board:

• Approved a one-year contract with Beacon Analytics to begin the process of billing private and public health insurance for health services the school system already provides students, That could generate $500,000 a year for the system.

• Approved a contract extension for Yennie through mid-2017, the maximum four years allowed by Tennessee law. The change also ties Yennie’s future raises to the “cost-of-living” raises teachers get, which this year was zero, although some got step increases. This marked Yennie’s last raise based on the consumer price index, which was 1.6 percent in January. That increased his pay to $131,729 a year plus a car allowance and other benefits.

• Approved continuing past practices on health insurance percentages the county system pays for employees and retirees, as well as supplements it pays for retirees on Medicare.

Read more in the Tuesday print edition of the Times-News or in the expanded electronic edition. 

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