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Will Johnson City and Washington County collaborate on a new K-8?

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By Collin Brooks

Staff Writer 

[email protected]

According to an official release by the Washington County Budget Committee and the Washington County Board of County Commissioners, Washington County may not be the only school municipality that could benefit from the construction of a new Boones Creek K-8.

During the monthly budget meeting on Wednesday morning, an official statement was handed out regarding “School Facility Collaboration”.

“The Washington County School System has presented a need for two new K-8 schools in Boones Creek and Jonesbourugh,” the statement reads. “Similarly, the Johnson City Board of Education has recently announced a need for three new schools within the Johnson City School System. Based upon information available at this time, the anticipated capital needs for Washington County Schools, as well as the additional matching funding required to be shared with Johnson City would result in a tax rate increase of approximately $0.44 to $0.48 for all Washington County citizens. Furthermore, based upon present information, every $10 million in debt issued by Washington County for school facilities will cost taxpayers approximately $25 million in tax revenue to fund the debt payments.

“In light of this information, as well as anticipated continuing decline in enrollment in the Washington County School System and very modest increases in Johnson City School Systems enrollment, and the additional enrollment capacity that will result form construction of new K-8 schools in Boones Creek and Jonesborough, the Committee believes it would be mutually beneficial to citizens of both Washington County and Johnson cCity for their respective governments and boards of education to consider a joint plan to utilize the proposed Boones Creek facility under an operational structure to be determined.”

The committee has requested that commissioner Dr. Paul Stanton identify appropriate individuals within the community to investigate the feasibility of this joint effort, and, if appropriate, create a plan for consideration by the school boards and funding bodies. The goal of this effort is to address the immediate and future facility needs of both school systems in a prudent and finically responsible manner that minimizes the burden on both county and city taxpayers.

“I think some injustice has already been done to this project,” Stanton said during the meeting before a vote was taken to accept the statement into the meetings minutes. “I think this statement is right on, this is not about consolidation, it’s about collaboration on a K-8 Boones Creek school between the city and county and that is what I agreed to at the committees request last time. It has already caused some fear at the city level, that this a big noble project again, it is not. And I just want to make sure that this is about a K-8 Boones Creek school.”

Check in the May 18 edition of the Herald & Tribune for a more in-depth look at the relationship between the Johnson City and Washington County school systems.