Clinton Voters to Decide Whether to Keep Own Schools

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Clinton (WVLT) Voters in Clinton will decide Tuesday whether they want to keep their city school system or ask Anderson county to take over their schools.

Volunteer TV's Rob Pratt has more on the historic vote that will decide the fate of a school system that's been operating for more than a century.

Clinton only has three schools and none of them go beyond the sixth grade.

With enrollment declining and costs going up during the last decade, voters will decide once and for all whether three elementary schools make it worthwhile for the city to operate a school system.

Will kindergartners still be students in the Clinton City Schools next year?

Or will they and the 850 others in three city schools be a part of the Anderson County System?

Those are the stakes as voters go the polls on Tuesday.

Vicki Viollette, the director of schools says, "our system has been in place 113 years, so to make a decision not to have a school system has a huge impact."

Viollette, hopes voters will vote no on the referendum that calls for Anderson County to take over.

Those who vote "no" on the referendum are voting to keep things as they are, with the City of Clinton is charge of it's own schools.

Karen Beatty with Save Our Schools says, "we've actually got three children, three boys, and one of them's actually of school age, he's in first grade now in the Clinton City School System, and we hope to keep it that way."

Beatty is not the only one with a Save Our Schools, sign in her yard.

They are all over Clinton.

If you look closely, you'll also find a few S.O.S. signs of a different kind.

They urge voters to vote yes to "Save our Seniors".

Some apparently believe taxes will go up if the city keeps its school system.

City Manager Steve Jones, who's studied this issue at length, says there won't be any tax increases to pay for schools so that should not drive voters' decisions.

"It, it's not about taxes, it's not about anything. It's about the people of this community sitting back and doing what's best for the children of this community."

If voters decide to let Anderson county take over, it would happen at the beginning of school next fall.

What would become of the three schools in Clinton?

The county could run the schools as is.

Combining or rezoning is always a possibility.

That's a decision that the county would have to make after the vote.

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