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Questions outnumber answers on IA’s future

December 3rd, 2013 10:41 pm by Rick Wagner

Questions outnumber answers on IA’s future

Sullivan County Director of Schools Jubal Yennie, in front of the television, fields questions about the future of Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee Tuesday. Rick Wagner photo.

KINGSPORT  — Parents and prospective parents of Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee students had more questions than Sullivan County Director of Schools Jubal Yennnie had answers Tuesday night.

But the answer to the biggest question — whether IA would continue despite Kingsport’s pullout at the end of the school year from the joint city-county STEM program — was yes.

More than 40 people attended a parents meeting at IA Tuesday night in a science room at IA, questioning Yennie about the transition of the grades 6-8 school to a single school system and the move forward to the ninth grade and eventually a 9-12 program.

The meeting was a follow-up to a pre-Thanksgiving meeting held in conjunction with a holiday luncheon that drew about 60 people.

Yennie said the high school program likely will be an Early College program in cooperation with Northeast State Community College. In Early College, students can earn most, and in some cases all, of the college credit needed for an associate’s degree.

Yennie said juniors and seniors can receive the HOPE or lottery scholarship for Early College and that the plan is IA students would not have to pay Northeast tuition as freshmen or sophomores.

“The number we’re rolling around right now is 24 at the bottom” and 45 to 50 maximum, Yennie told the parents of the expected workable range of ninth-graders next school year.

That compares to the current IA maximum enrollment of 80 students per grade or 40 from each system, although the program as a whole is at about 70 percent of that capacity.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Wednesday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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