Sullivan County commissioners pass school facilities plan

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BLOUNTVILLE, TN (WJHL) – Sullivan County commissioners Monday voted to pass a multi-million dollar school facilities plan.

That means we could see a new Sullivan County school in as little as two years.

This morning commissioners approved funding for phase one of the plan, which includes consolidating schools, renovating facilities and building new ones.

County commissioners voted 14 to 9 “yes” to fund the $140 million school construction plan.

“We’re excited, we’re looking forward to the future,” said Sullivan County School Board Chairman Michael Hughes.

But not everyone feels that way.

“It makes me really angry because the county commissioners did not listen to us,” said Ronda Goode.

Goode is one of the many community members who told commissioners why they should vote “no.” some feared less class participation or a lost sense of community.

Goode said she’s worried about students getting to the new Sullivan County high school’s proposed site on Lynn Road.

“Kids do not need to be on the interstate driving,” she said.

Those in favor of the plan, supported through a 9 cent tax increase on Sullivan County properties, argued changes are necessary, important for workforce and development and would include facilities that support 21st century learning.

“We hope to make believers out of our doubters,” Hughes said.

The Sullivan County School Board said its next steps are to close on properties for the new middle school on Weaver Pike and the high school.

“We all have the same passion for education, the same passion for our students, so I think we funnel that and we become stronger together,” said Sullivan County Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski.

Kingsport leaders said their next steps are to start making plans for construction of a science and technology center at Dobyns Bennett.

Bristol leaders said they’re currently doing a facilities study.Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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