New Jefferson Elementary School, Once Again To Be Topic For Discussion By County Commission

The Jefferson County Commission will again be addressing the possibility of a new Jefferson Elementary School at Monday’s quarterly meeting. In work session this week Commissioner Thomas of the 10th district informed the full body that she will be bringing a motion for the Nominating Committee to form a committee to bring a proposed solution to funding of a new Jefferson Elementary School. The idea of a committee came from multiple motions from Thomas to secure funding to meet the School Board’s request for a new school building. Proponents of the proposed building have spoken at several meetings, as have some in dissent who noted the proposed location (current Jefferson County Fair Grounds) assumed cost of almost $20 million dollars and the frequency that the defeated funding motion returned to the floor are contrary to the best interest of tax payers. Proponents contend that the state of disrepair of the school is extreme and that renovations would displace students during construction and would likely not address all the needs.

Also in question are the actual student count that are in attendance in Jefferson County Schools. Commissioner Huffaker brought information provided by the Jefferson County Department of Education regarding the discrepancies in numbers that were provided by an independent contractor employed by the DOE and the numbers that the DOE contend are accurate. The independent contractor showed a much lower occupancy level than the numbers provided by the school system. The information provided by Huffaker addressed those numbers, however over crowding is not a stated reason for the proposed new school building.

Should the full commission body approve the request of Commissioner Thomas the Nominating Committee will bring names to comprise the committee for commission approval. Thomas has suggested two commissioners (herself and Commissioner Byrd), two school board members and one parent. Ad hoc members would include Jefferson County Mayor Potts and Jefferson County Director of School Johnston.

Source: K. Depew, News Director