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Changes may be coming for Sullivan County Schools

By Angela Yingling
Published On: Mar 11 2013 11:35:17 AM CDT
Updated On: Mar 01 2013 06:46:06 PM CST

Sullivan County Schools are seeing a drop in enrollment by about 500 students every year, that’s why school leaders are looking to make changes.

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. -

On a cold, snowy Friday, Shandon Beene is picking up his daughter from Colonial Heights Middle School, but soon this may no longer be a school.

It’s one of several schools on the chopping block in Sullivan County. "We can put more students in an empty school and maybe close a school and so we can save some dollars," explains Sullivan County Director of Schools Dr. Jubal Yenni.

It comes down to money. The schools are serving fewer students; therefore they're getting less money from the federal, state and local levels, but parents have some concerns about the proposed changes. "I'd be concerned about how far we'd have to go in order to get both kids to school on time and then picking up the kids as well," adds Beene.

Here's a rundown of the three scenarios:

Scenario One-South Zone:
-Sullivan South High School will serve grades 7-12
-South zone elementary schools will serve grades PK-6
-Close Colonial Heights Middle School & Sullivan Middle School

Scenario Two-Central Zone:
-Blountville Elementary School expands to include Central Heights students.
-Close Central Heights Elementary
-Transfer Blountville Middle School students to Holston Middle School
-Close the Rock Building and remove modular classrooms at Blountville

Scenario Three-Consolidate High Schools In Kingsport Area:
-Sullivan South or Sullivan North will be designated a west zone high school serving students in grades 9-12, and the other school will be the west zone middle school serving grades 6-8.
-Colonial Heights and Sullivan Middle School will be closed
-North Middle will be expanded or students transferred

School leaders know the changes won’t come easily. “People are attached to buildings, attached to communities, attached to teachers and that's good stuff. If we had a choice we would not be doing any closings," adds Yenni.

"I’d like to know more about it. See exactly what the options are, if we have any say to begin with and then just to kind of get more information on what the future holds," adds Beene.

School leaders hope to have a final plan in place by the start of the school year in August.

There are three meetings set up in March where the public can comment on the proposed changes.

March 4, 2013 School Board Meeting (no action will be taken, but public comment is welcome) *This meeting will take place in the Little Theater of the Sullivan Central High School at 6:30 pm.

March 14, 2013 Formal presentation on rezoning options (public comment is welcome, no action will be taken)

March 28, 2013 Special Called Board Meeting to vote on rezoning alternative (public comment is welcome prior to the vote) 

There's also an email address set up where people can share comments or concerns. It's rezoning@sullivank12.net.