KINGSPORT — A Greene County judge has dismissed all but one of the defendants in a lawsuit filed by two Kingsport women who claim Kingsport and Sullivan County elected officials held private meetings on school consolidation in violation of the Tennessee Open Meetings Act.
Angie Stanley and Monica Comsa filed the lawsuit in Sullivan County Chancery Court on April 19 naming Kingsport, Sullivan County, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and both the city and county boards of education as the defendants.
Earlier this year, Sullivan County Director of Schools Jubal Yennie proposed merging North and South high schools to help address the consolidation issue facing the Sullivan County School system, where some schools are over capacity and others are being underutilized.
Stanley and Comsa claim members of the BMA and two BOEs held private meetings regarding consolidation, as evidenced by a series of Facebook postings between the two women and Alderman Tom Parham on Parham’s 2013 re-election Facebook page.
In the Facebook postings, Parham referenced a “leadership team” of business leaders and educators from both (school) systems who meet monthly to foster communication and improve planning for both systems. Parham said its members include the mayor, city manager, the superintendents and school board chairs and some business leaders.
Parham continued by saying the leadership team is a steering committee, not a formal committee that keeps minutes, and holds its meetings in private.
For an expanded version of this article, please see Friday’s print edition or our expanded electronic edition.