School board approves plan for new Jonesborough school

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JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Washington County Board of Education approved a proposal Thursday evening for a new Jonesborough K-8 school.

“We’ve been wanting a school for two years and we’ve been turned down turned down turned down…This proposal looks like it will work if the county can support it,” said Washington County Board of Education Chair Keith Ervin

The school board approved the proposal 8-0.

One of those thrilled with the vote is Rachel Bates.

This Mom of three thinks this is something that Washington County needs.

Bates says, “Washington County, especially Jonesborough schools have a lot of underprivileged children and the fact that they can come into a clean and healthy environment and have a school that they’re proud of, when they might not have other things that they’re proud of means a lot.”

The town of Jonesborough would build the school and lease it to the county. The plan also includes an athletic complex which would be used by the school and community.

“It’s going to be nice for them to not just be proud of their school, but to be proud of their facility when other children are coming and other teams are coming to play sports with them” said Bates.

Earlier this week – some on the Johnson City School questioned the legality of Jonesborough’s plan.

That prompted the school board chairman to question whether a lawsuit was in the works.

“I don’t want to see us get into something, its going to cost more money if they do sue…I had to ask the question,” said Ervin.

But Jonesborough Mayor Chuck Vest says he’s personally assured the plan has Johnson City support.

“We’ve had great support from the Johnson City Commission. They have told me personally they are in favor of this project, they want to see Jonesborough get a new school,” said Vest.

He continued, “I think getting this Jonesborough situation taken care of, it allows the commission and the school board to concentrate on smaller schools out in the county but maybe also concentrate on what the Johnson city’s needs are.”

Also discussed was a request that the school board help pay for the new facility by selling some of its current property including the midway school and some land in front of Jonesborough elementary and middle schools.

“They’re wanting us to sell some property where our schools are at. The Boone’s Creek property and stuff and we’re working that out and going to have it put back in to where the money will be put back into our fund balance,” said Ervin.

The plan will now go to the county commission, where it will be considered by the Health, Education, and Welfare Committee.

If that committee approves it, it will then go to the Budget Committee and then to the full commission.

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