New Jonesborough school plan raising questions on its legality

Community

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) Johnson City’s school board chair is questioning the legality of a plan to build a new school in Jonesborough.

The plan which was approved by the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Alderman Thursday called for the town to build a new k through 8 school and sports complex off North Cherokee Street and Tavern Hill Road.

The county would lease both properties. The county would eventually own the school and Jonesborough would own the sports complex.

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Johnson City School Board chair Tim Belisle believes there are legal issues with the plan for the new Jonesborough schools.

He said the majority of the county property tax collected to go towards this new Jonesborough school will come from both Johnson City and Jonesborough residents.

“That would go into a county account that would then be used to fund the construction or remodeling of county schools, with none of that money coming back to the city for city school purposes,” Belisle said.

Belisle explained that the capital improvement money was collected for all school systems in the county.

“With this arrangement that’s been proposed by the town of Jonesborough, the capital improvement money that’s being collected by the county it would be used to pay the rent to the town of Jonesborough for the new school that they’ve proposed to them,” he said.

During Thursday’s meeting with the mayor and alderman, superintendent Bill Flanary stated the proposal is legal.

“There’s a lot of legalities but so far, all the lawyers that have talked about this have said, ‘yeah, it passes with Tennessee State Law, so that’s exciting,” Superintendent Flanary said.

However, Belisle wants to keep Johnson City Schools needs in mind, too.

“We have a number of school facilities that are equally as aged as the facilities in Jonesborough, and we also have an expanding student population,” Belisle said. “I also don’t want to see any negative consequences for the county students, but as an elected official in Johnson City, I want to make sure that the students in Johnson City are also equally advantaged.”

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