Johnson City Schools holds meeting with local legislators

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – School vouchers, state testing and capital funding were discussed during a meeting held by the Johnson City Board of Education on Friday.

It was a meeting with local legislators, who sat in to hear ideas and concerns from the school board.

State Senator Rusty Crowe and Representatives Matthew Hill and Micah Van Huss were present at the meeting.

One issue the BOE wanted to legislators to address was capital funding and revenue sharing between Washington County and Johnson City.

“We’re going to try and figure out a way to see if we can’t balance this,” said Sen. Rusty Crowe, “probably have a meeting with the governor, some of the superintendents that are affected in middle, east and west to see if we can’t come up with a good fair way to work this out.”

Board members say they want to see a change in state law. However, Crowe and Rep.Hill agreed that it would be a difficult.

“There are not that many school systems like Johnson City that are having the problem, there are more that aren’t,” said Crowe, “so from the perspective of votes in the senate and the house, systems like Johnson City are outvoted.”

Rep. Micah Van Huss also said that he and Sen. Crowe would be filing a caption bill this year to have Tennessee colleges and universities create standardized tests to replace Tennessee Ready.

“I think that the Tennessee higher education would be a good way to come up with a test for Tennessee students,” said Van Huss, “that way we own the test in state, we don’t have to pay an outside source.”

Board members also opposed further funding for the state voucher bill and discussed BEP Funding with Rep. Hill.

“One of the ideas that came about would be to fund more positions through the BEP, I think that’s a good idea,” said Superintendent of Schools Steve Barnett. “It’s really important that those positions are funded at a higher level.”

One other idea brought up by the school board was the possibility of taking elections out of school buildings. Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins said Friday that would be difficult to make happen.

Non-private schools that receive public funds are required by law to open up their building to be used for elections.

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