The Wilson County Board of Education voted to alter school start times starting next academic year, and discussed several other issues Monday during its monthly meeting.
School start times
The board voted to push back the start time for schools by 15 minutes for some, and 30 minutes for others by a 5-2 vote. Board members Wayne McNeese and Kimberly McGee voting against the change, which will take effect July 1, 2019.
The following schools will start 15 minutes later next year: Elzie Patton, Gladeville, Lakeview, Mt. Juliet, Rutland, Southside, Springdale, Stoner Creek, W.A. Wright and West elementary schools, Mt. Juliet and West Wilson middle schools and Mt. Juliet and Wilson Central high schools.
The following schools will start 30 minutes later next year: Tuckers Crossroads, Carroll Oakland and Watertown elementary schools, Watertown Middle School and Lebanon and Watertown high schools.
Wilson County Schools deputy director Mickey Hall headed the recommended changes at the direction of the board, primarily Larry Tomlinson and Bill Robinson.
“To me, it’s unacceptable that we ask the families we represent to sit their kids on the side of the road at those times,” Tomlinson said.
The group heavily discussed the changes during last week’s work session.
“If you want everything the way it is, that is perfectly fine with me, but if you don’t want kids on the bus at 5:20 or 5:25 a.m., you need to move your start times. When you move your start time, you can’t cherry pick a school and make one school go at 8 o’clock and the rest of them go at a different time. Everybody needs to move because of transportation,” Hall said.
Hall said some bus drivers, especially in the western portion of the county, do double routes daily, and that the number of elementary versus high school bus riders hinders the district from simply reversing the start times for elementary and high schools.
McNeese said although he sympathized with students that had early bus times, he did not want to forget about teachers that had second jobs, or students who work after school, as well as the impact on extracurricular activities.
Green Hill High School
The board officially approved the name of the county’s newest high school — Green Hill High School. The name pays homage to the Mt. Juliet area’s historical significance.
The high school’s naming committee will meet again to discuss the school’s mascot and colors.
The proposed new school, located near the intersection of Lebanon Road and North Greenhill Road, will have about 100 classrooms and the ability to house 2,000 students. The new school will relieve overcrowding at Mt. Juliet and Wilson Central high schools, according to county school officials.
The Wilson County Commission approved $107 million in bonds earlier this year to build the high school.
High school rezoning
The board approved zoning changes for middle schools, primarily those affected by the opening of Gladeville Middle School next year. However, the group balked at changes to high school rezoning that would take place with the opening of Green Hill High School.
Tomlinson led the opposition against the rezoning, noting he did not like the fact that some students in the northeast corner of Wilson County would be zoned for Watertown High School instead of Lebanon High School.
Hall said the distance those students would travel to Watertown would be similar to distance traveled to Lebanon, but Robinson argued it would take more time because of the rural roads in the eastern portion of the county.
Mt. Juliet liquor lawsuit
The board rejected Mt. Juliet’s latest offer of $325,000 to settle a liquor-by-the-drink tax lawsuit.
The original lawsuit in 2014 was for $449,000.
In 2013, it was revealed many municipalities in Tennessee were not paying their portion of their liquor-by-the-drink tax to public school systems because of an oversight. Wilson County Schools and the Lebanon Special School District were among the school districts in Tennessee that were owed money by cities.