School board votes to close Shady Valley Elementary

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MOUNTAIN CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Johnson County Board of Education has voted to close Shady Valley Elementary School.

Emotions were high in Mountain City as board members voted 3-2 Thursday night.

Several people- including Shady Valley parents and alumni spoke at Thursday night’s meeting-some even giving presentations, pleading to postpone the vote and keep the school open. But the pressure for the school board to decide is coming from state and federal government to keep spending between schools comparable through “supplement not supplant methodology,” according to officials.

Angie Wills, Johnson County School’s Federal Program Supervisor, says “It’s a federal requirement, it did start last year, it requires districts to show equability between schools in their funding.”

With Shady Valley Elementary only having 21 students, the cost per pupil is $19,197.31 almost $14,000 more than Mountain City Elementary- the largest elementary school in the county with 434 students. Its cost per pupil is $5,390.37.

The school will close at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Parents options for next year would be to send their children to school in Washington Co., Virginia or to Doe Elementary almost 10 miles away from Shady Valley.

“We would want the students to be acclimated to doe, if their parents choose to send them there,” says Dr. Mischelle Simcox, the Johnson County Director of Schools.

Shady Valley’s history was not taken lightly during the conversation leading up to the vote Thursday night, but it all came down to the numbers.

“If there’s anything I can do to keep that school open, let me know. But, right now, I have to vote ‘no,'” said board member Mike Payne.

The board made a decision to have a called meeting in January on what the future of Shady Valley will look like.

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