School Building Plan Approved
Chairman Leroy Tate (l) Scott Newman, Professor Gary Ubben and Van Shaver (r)
BOE Members Exchange Barbs!
By: Pat Hunter
January 8, 2009
The Loudon County Board of Education met this evening to discuss agenda item four, the school building plan. The meeting began with Agenda Item A, School Director Honeycutt’s Building Recommendation, at this time, I will entertain a motion and second or discussion, Chairman Leroy Tate said.
The School Board had other thoughts about the School Director's PRE-K -8 recommendations.
Click to view Video Clip Van Shaver motion
School Board member Van Shaver made the motion for School Building Phase 1:
Chairman Tate requested discussion, which was followed by a second by School Board member D-7 Craig Simon. Do you realize that if this passed, we have to keep funding in mind and there will be no action taken on item B, commented Chairman Tate.
School Board member Scotty Newman asked, what about Philadelphia? School Board member Shaver apologized that he had missed item four on his list. Shaver added item four to Phase 1, the cafeteria expansion. Later that was clarified to include the kitchen and cafeteria expansion.
Click to view Video Clip UT professor Gary Ubben
D-5 School Board member UT professor Gary Ubben added to the discussion on Shaver’s motion. The old Board and Director moved toward the direction of a PRE-K through eighth grade rather than building middle schools. The new Director was for a PRE-K-8 model, Ubben said. Ubben mentioned that based on his professional expertise, he too came to the same conclusion independently as did the previous director, current director and staff. Why was the Board going against the advice of the professionals?
Scott Newman and UT Professor Gary Ubben
Professor Ubben didn’t seem to comprehend the Board’s actions until he had a conversation with a parent of a Ft. Loudon Middle school student. The unidentified parent mentioned that the Board promised middle school football so Loudon could have a middle school football team just like the North end of the county.
Are we about to spend $20 Million or $17 Million or whatever to build a middle school in lieu of building a PRE-K – 8, Professor Ubben asked? That’s ridiculous countered Scotty Newman who has coached football for 16+ years. That’s meant for me.
School Building Plan approval vote by 7 yes, 3 no margin
Voting yes: Board members Van Shaver, Craig Simon, Steve Harrelson, Bobby Johnson, Jr., Larry Proaps, Scott Newman and Lisa Russell.
Voting no: Board members Gary Ubben, Leroy Tate and Bill Marcus.
No official costs were given on the latest school building plan. The School Building Plan must still meet the approval of the Budget Committee and Commission vote.
The operating expenses or budgets associated with the proposed school building plan will also be a critical component, which the Budget Committee and Commissioners will closely examine. This was a critical stumbling block with the last school building plan.
The County must also go to the bond market and in these economic times nothing is a given, just look at Maryville's school building program and Blount County's jail bond issues. Nobody has said how this will affect property taxes. Will property taxes be raised, if so, how much? Commissioners face re-election in 2010.
Pictured School Board member Bobby Johnson, Jr., with Dr. Charles Lindsey, former superintendent of Knox County Schools. Dr. Lindsey sat in the front row at the School Board meeting.