JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Board members with Johnson City Schools hosted a meeting with Washington County, Tennessee Schools to discuss long-term plans, including the need for opportunities to expand.
Both school districts mentioned schools that are nearing or have hit their capacity for students. Those schools include Gray Elementary School, Daniel Boone High School, Towne Acres Elementary School and Science Hill High School.
District leaders also discussed plans to add on to Daniel Boone High School and Science Hill High School.
“We have renovations that need to happen anyway, but we need to be mindful that additional classroom space is definitely on the radar for Daniel Boone High School,” said Washington County Schools Superintendent Jerry Boyd.
“So what we would like to do is have experts come in, study that facility, and give us some advice, recommendations, as far as going forward for the next several years at Science Hill,” said Johnson City Schools Director of Schools Dr. Steve Barnett.
For Science Hill, Barnett said Johnson City Schools hopes to finish renovations on labs and to add more features to improve safety such as double lock doors and gates.
Boyd said Washington County Schools are having a difficult time finding land near Daniel Boone High School to add on to the school.
Boyd said this need for new facilities is not just because of their projected growth.
“We’re facing needs that didn’t exist 50 years ago, and the space that was designed and [in] use may not be adequate so we have to continue to improve there,” said Boyd.
Both school districts discussed opportunities for partnerships for career technology education – an opportunity they’re interested in with the TCAT facility in the former Boones Creek Elementary School.
A common issue they brought up was the third-grade retention law and the challenges that come with the new requirements.
Another issue is a “battle” with students vaping in school.
“It’s quite honestly a battle,” said Boyd. “There have been several public health battles we have fought and continue to fight, and vaping right now for our young people is a very serious issue.”
Johnson City Schools are going to start pushing public service announcements to inform the community of this problem, beginning with a meeting next week.
“We want to make sure that we put that information out to the community and ask for the community’s help and assistance on educating children about the health concerns we have with vaping,” said Barnett.
Dr. Barnett added that they plan to add vape detectors at the school district’s middle schools and at Science Hill High School.
School officials said they hope to begin holding meetings like this at least twice a year.