Fate Of School System To Be Decided

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(WVLT) One of the smallest school systems in East Tennessee is concerned about its future.

A task force researching ways to improve it are bringing results to the body that will ultimately decide the system's fate tonight.

WVLT Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford has the details.

The Clinton City Council meeting began just after 5:00.

The community will hear from a joint education task force that has been meeting for the past six months and they have put together a report recommending changes to keep all three elementary schools going in Clinton.

Scott Burtin, the Task Force Vice Chair says, "the question is do we need to have the three schools in our school system currently."

Burtin says yes.

The father of three was appointed Vice Chair of the Education Task Force by the Mayor.

"I am born and raised here. I went through the school system. I think its fantastic."

But Burtin admits that Clinton City Schools need help.

That's why the task force is focusing on improving academics, technology and facility.

"We're looking at maybe bringing on some more teachers in regards to reading specialists to really focus on those kids who are falling behind."

They can even help keep children ahead of the game.

Burtin continues, "adding addition after school programs like spanish or math or computer labs."

But are there enough students that will stay in the three elementary schools to experience these improvements?

Burtin says, "attendance has been declining over the last ten years and its a big issue in regards to funding our school system."

Steve Jones, the Clinton City Manager says, "Clinton has decreased at a rate that is more rapid than the rest of the county."

Even still, Jones says they'll work to keep all three schools up and running.

"There's a general feeling among all city councilmen that we should maintain our city school system."

If for no other reason than for the children's sake.

"When you have a smaller classroom size teachers can identify the needs of a particular child, so that child won't be left behind."

South Clinton Elementary is losing 100 students to Anderson County next school year.

Burton says a big topic they'll eventually get to is whether or not to cut tuition.

Right now, students who live outside of Clinton must pay 500 dollars.

There will be continuing workshops regarding the school systems financial situation in the coming months.

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