By Ashley Rader
A standing-room crowd including community members and employees of the Elizabethton City School system packed Elizabethton City Council chambers Thursday night to support the school system’s capital projects program.
The turnout came after council deferred a vote at its December meeting that would have granted the school system access to funds generated by a bond issue. At that meeting, some council members expressed concern that one phase of the project – new classrooms and accessibility improvements at T.A. Dugger Junior High School – would not be built.
For close to an hour Thursday, council members heard from community members who supported the capital project.
For many years, the system has been pursuing the addition of an athletic complex, new music room and additional classrooms at Elizabethton High School, along with the work at TAD.
Council approved the issues of a new bond – $5 million in funding, which school administrators and the Elizabethton School Board had planned to use to construct EHS projects. However, in December, they put off granting the school system access to the money.
During December’s school board meeting, board chair Rita Booher called on the public to reach out to city council to show their support for the projects.
Capital plan supporters filled the council chambers in response, and heard Booher tell council members that the TAD projects would not be forgotten.
She explained the system was working within the financial resources they had. She said to show the system’s dedication to the TAD projects, extra financing from the half-cent sales tax increase that was approved in 2008 for school projects could be set aside specifically for TAD.
“I am just speaking as one board member, but I feel the other school board members would be supportive of this,” she said. “I ask that you trust us, and that you trust our track record when it comes to spending the funding for the capital projects.”
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