By Scott Robertson
The Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday evening inserted into its agenda and approved a resolution asking Washington County to consider building a new K-8 school for Tennessee’s oldest town, even as the county considers building a similar facility in Boones Creek.
Jonesborough’s existing elementary school and middle school were built in 1950 and 1971, respectively. The Washington County School Board and Washington County Commission both have discussed the possibility of building a new K-8 school in Boones Creek, but most of the discussions about Jonesborough’s schools have centered around refit and repair until the county has more available bond capacity.
“As a county taxpayer, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend $7-$10 million on repairs for the old Jonesborough schools when you’re not even buying a lot of time on them,” Wolfe said. “Outside of putting up some partition walls in the round building, I don’t see anything being done to improve the learning environment. They’re talking about heat and air, parking lot improvements, ingress and egress, that sort of thing.”
Wolfe welcomed four county commissioners who attended the BMA meeting, and took pains to avoid any appearance of disrespecting the county’s authority to build county schools as the school board and commission see fit. “We realize that budget constraints are very real,” Wolfe said. “We realize the county has its list of priorities and needs. And we realize and respect that they have their own deliberative process. We’re just asking that they not immediately exclude the needs of Jonesborough at the outset.”
With Commissioners Joe Grandy, Todd Hensley, Tom Krieger and David Tomita in the gallery, Wolfe read the resolution aloud, saying, “Be it resolved that the Washington County Commission is requested (at this point, Wolfe looked up at the commissioners and ad libbed, “pretty please,”) to provide Jonesborough area youth the same opportunity to get the best education and quality school facilities to give them the best foundation to obtain successful careers and lives.”
After the BMA held unanimous votes to place the resolution into the agenda and to approve it, Wolfe thanked the commissioners again for attending and asked them to take one message back to their colleagues.
“Please,” Wolfe concluded, “don’t forget about Jonesborough.”