Nothing For Greenback II

County Commissioner Roy Bledsoe informed other commissioners at the last workshop that he will put forth a motion at the January 4 Commission meeting that would recommend the school board build the new Loudon middle school and expand/renovate the cafeteria at the Philadelphia school. Ordinarily this might sound like a good idea. Problem is, that's not what the school board has proposed for the building plan.

The school board has spent the last year developing a building plan to address what the board feels are the school systems most pressing needs. The board has worked with professionals in developing the plan and in fact has already spent nearly a million dollars developing the plan. In summery the plan would include a New K-12 school in Greenback, a new middle school in Loudon expansion/renovation of the cafeteria at the Philadelphia and after the new Loudon middle school is built, combining Loudon Elementary and the old middle school into a K-5.

The law is very clear. It's the school board's responsibility to build schools and it's the commission's responsibility to provide funding if they deem necessary. The assumption must be that the commission has now decided to take on the role of both the school board and commission by dictating to the board what they will build. Under the Bledsoe plan, Greenback gets nothing. When pressed about the issue of safety concerns at Greenback, Bledsoe stated that Loudon Elementary also has safety issues when it comes to the trailers on that campus during high winds. Bledsoe is correct. The trailers are an extreme safety hazard where ever they are located.

Unfortunately, previous school boards have chosen to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to install the temporary trailers on several of the school campuses rather than actually addressing the overcrowding problems. Loudon Elementary has 5 doublewide trailers in use now. But so does Greenback and the wind blows in Greenback just as it does in Loudon.

No one can argue that the Greenback school is far and above the most unsafe school in our system and also suffers mass over crowding as does the Loudon school. This is the very reason the board identified both areas for new schools. Some on commission and the school board seem determined to ignore the problems at Greenback hoping I guess the problems will just go away. That's why we're in the mess we're in now.

County Mayor Doyle Arp has told some he has the votes lined up to pass Bledsoe's motion. So if the motion passes, it will then be up to the school board to accept or reject the commission's motion. Hopefully the board will stick with the original plan that addresses all the needs and not just some of the needs. 

The bad thing is, that the money's there to do both new schools. So why not do them? Anyone interested in in the future of the Loudon County school system is encouraged to attend the January 4th commission meeting at the Loudon County Annex at 6:00 pm.