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Plan to close three Sullivan County middle schools remains up in the air

Sullivan County Board Meeting.jpg

The Sullivan County School Board meeting was packed with concerned students and parents who want to save their schools.

The board is nearly $2 million in debt and is looking at new ways they can save money. One plan they developed would involve closing Blountville Middle School, Sullivan Gardens Middle School, and Innovation Academy at the end of this school year.

This plan sparked outrage in the community.

"If they close Blountville Middle. then we would have to go to Holston Middle. Then Holston Middle will be overpopulated," said 6th grader Bailey Quillen. "If there are overpopulated classrooms, students like myself will not get the education we need."

Quillen was just one of dozens of concerned residents who shared their thoughts with the School Board during the public comment section of the meeting.

The topic of school closures was not on the board's agenda, but because so many residents spoke out in the public comment section, the School Board Chairman, Michael Hughes, commented on the issue.

"We put this plan out early, so we could hear your concerns and have these discussions. We have plenty of time before anything is finalized. No decisions have been made," said Hughes.

Hughes said he was moved by the students comments, and that the board will look at other ways they can save money-- but in the end, the board will have to decide what to do from an economic point of view.

He also said no vote is planned to decide if they will close the schools, and he will keep the public updated any definite decisions are made.

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