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$79M Greene County high school consolidation plan awaiting commission approval

GREENE COUNTY, TN (WJHL)- Greene County school leaders just approved a $79 million dollar plan in an ongoing effort to consolidate some of their facilities.

The school board voted in favor of the plan in a 6-1 vote Thursday night. 

It's a consolidation plan would move students from all four of the current high schools into a brand new school. The new high school would include a vocational school on site. 

The plan also calls for the four current high schools to be converted into middle schools for grades 6-8. 

Director of Greene County Schools, David McLain, said this is something he feels the school system needs as they've continued to see a decline in enrollment.

"Right now we are averaging losing 100 to 150 kids a year, we've lost in the neighborhood of 1,000 kids...the data is showing kids aren't here, the population in Greene County is increasing in age and child bearing age individuals is declining," McLain said.

It's a plan that has already seen it's fair share of opposition from the community, as people like Samantha Cox said they're concerned about what a larger school could mean for students.

"I'm not too crazy about it, I'm really concerned for the students..there's not going to be one on one that some students might need, it's going to be a problem with sports," Cox said.

McLain went onto say Friday afternoon that while decline in enrollment is a reason for this change, they also believe there will be more opportunities for academics and sports with a larger facility.

"We have some AP and honors but nowhere near what we could offer at a high school of this caliber and certainly that gives those kids better opportunities...right now we are struggling in certain areas to have enough kids to play especially in our K-8's...at this school you are going to be able to have a freshman team, a JV team a varsity team," McLain said.

The question of where this school will be located is still up in the air as McLain said the school board is waiting for the county commission's approval.

He did add that when they do purchase property, the desire is to have it centrally located on an estimated 90-100 acres of land. 

The Greene County Commission will vote on this $79M plan August 20th. 


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