Clinton Voters Decide to Keep School System

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Clinton (WVLT) - The city of Clinton will keep its school system. Voters turned out in record numbers to cast their ballots.

WVLT Volunteer TV'z Liz Tedone has the story.

A 113 year tradition will continue in the city of Clinton after voters responded by an overwhelming majority to keep their schools.

A small gathering in a local Mexican restaurant, but a big victory for parents, teachers and students of Clinton's three elementary schools. By almost 800 votes, the schools will remain in the Clinton City district.

"We're just excited. It's definitely beneficial for the community, and I have three little kids all at Clinton elementary schools, and we're just ecstatic," Clinton resident Tracy Burton said.

And Tracy Burton's husband Scott is newly elected as a city councilman.

"It's our school system. It's been around for 113 years. It's not to take away from anybody or anything that the Anderson County School System. It's a very small system and feel like we have the flexibility to make some changes as a city," Scott Burton said.

Three elementary schools make up the district of roughly 850 students. Clinton Middle and High Schools are already a part of the Anderson County system, but keeping the elementary schools was an emotional victory for teachers like Lea Ousley.

"I've been teaching schools for 31 years, and they're very close to my heart, and I think it's very important for Clinton to keep their schools," Ousley said.

"We are elated, and we felt that we would win, but we won overwhelmingly, it was a decisive victory," said Sam Dean from Friends of Clinton City Schools.

And now the next battle becomes one of priority. Getting city and school leaders to work together to increase funding.

Back in September, the Clinton City Council had decided to put the vote up for referendum because many constituents were not in favor of supporting the schools financially. No doubt new budget talks will be a priority in the coming year.

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