Hundreds voice their concerns of plans to consolidate Greene County Schools

GREENE COUNTY, TN (WJHL)- Hundreds gathered at Camp Creek Elementary School on Thursday night to voice their opinion on plans to consolidate Greene County Schools.

The meeting lasted nearly two hours and quickly became heated as people from the community voiced their concerns on plans they believe would overhaul Greene County Schools.

Some parents became overwhelmed with emotion as they spoke on the plans members of the Greene County School Board will consider.

There are two recommendations, each one would involve building one new high school for the district, the only difference would mean one recommendation includes two middle schools while the other includes four middle schools.

Either way, it would mean West Pines, Glenwood and Camp Creek elementary schools would close.

Kathy Austin, Greene County School Board Member, said it’s not a plan she supports.

“That the board will reconsider the options and the county commission will pay special and close attention if the options get close to them, if they make it that far,” Austin said.

In the audience, Director of Schools David McLain listened to the opinions of parents and  county commissioners. As the tension of the meeting increased, McLain addressed the crowd on the realities of a school district with dwindling enrollment.

“You know how many band members you had in your seventh and eighth grade band? Four,” McLain said. “But if you had that middle school with you, DeBusk, and Nolachuckey look at how many you could have. We’re trying to give you some programs you have not had in the past.”

However, for many parents in Camp Creek the decision is not about the numbers or programs, it’s about the heart of their community.

“This school is the center of the camp creek community and i think its what keeps people together in this community and makes it so special,” Jennifer Widers aid.

This was a community meeting, an opportunity for members of the Board of Education to hear concerns of citizens.

The two options will be considered and voted on by the Greene County Board of Education in December.

Copyright WJHL 2017. All rights reserved.


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