Wilson County Schools Deputy Director Mickey Hall said on Friday that he expects two elementary schools and two middle schools in Mt. Juliet to remain on a split-day schedule for the entire 2020-21 academic year.
Two weeks ago, Director of Schools Dr. Donna Wright announced a plan that had students from Stoner Creek Elementary moving to Springdale Elementary, with one group going to classes in the morning and one in the afternoon at Springdale. The same schedule would be used by West Wilson Middle School students to share the Mt. Juliet Middle School building with students there. That plan would be used when school resumes.
School board member Wayne McNeese asked why WCS staff wouldn’t consider using under-construction Green Hill High School as a kindergarten through eighth grade school for the next school year, instead of splitting the schedule for the four schools.
“If you’d get your feet out of the dirt, you’ve got GHHS, which would make a perfect K-8 school,” McNeese said. “This is an extraordinary circumstance. We have to adjust to the situation. It’s not the solution, because you don’t consider it a solution.”
Hall said that GHHS, expected to open in August, was built to give the county’s high schools overcrowding relief and were not built to house younger grades. Stoner Creek and West Wilson Middle, which shared a campus on N. Mt. Juliet Road, were destroyed by a tornado on March 3.
Hall updated the WCS board on Friday about damage from the tornado.
Everything that could be salvaged out of Stoner Creek and West Wilson Middle was salvaged last week, Hall said. Some items were contaminated and couldn’t be saved, he said. Other items will be compiled into an insurance company claim, he said.
If the lockers were not damaged or contaminated, the items within them were boxed up and placed in the Mt. Juliet Middle School cafeteria. The boxes have the locker numbers on them.
Hall went over the claims that the school district is making with its insurance company. Among them, in addition to the two schools, are two buses which may be totaled, flashing lights on the west side of Central Pike at Springdale Elementary, ballfield damage at WWMS and the fuel island which was located between SCES and WWMS.
Wright said that 12 teachers, as well as staff members suffered damage to their homes. Six teachers were injured during the tornado.
The board approved, by unanimous vote, the engagement of the National Fire Adjustors to be a county liaison with the WCS insurance company. They were used by Joplin, Mo., Schools when their schools were damaged by tornadoes in 2011.
The claim should cover the total cost of the new schools, Hall said, adding that he has told the commissioners that no more money is expected to be needed. He did tell school board members that the claim money will not cover infrastructure for the new buildings.
The new structures will be built like other newer elementary and middle schools in the WCS system, Hall said.
The board approved, with a 5-1-1 vote, to hire Katz, Binkley, Jones and Morris Architects; Engineering Services Group; American Geotechnical; and Civil Site Design Group as the WCS design team for the new schools.
McNeese was the lone “no” vote while board member Chad Karl was not present.
School board chairman Larry Tomlinson said he wanted “the board to have a say as to what goes into the buildings and what they look like.”
Hall said he hopes to have a design and other plans to the board in May.
The board also approved a resolution, with a 5-1-1 vote that acknowledged that all work is an emergency and that the board allows the NFA to negotiate the repairs of the sites, facilities, equipment and ancillary sites with the WCS insurance company.
McNeese again voted “no” and Karl was not present.
Hall said that he’s been told that the new schools could be built in 14 months, if they get to begin work in June. However, Tomlinson said that he didn’t want the system to “paint ourselves into a corner,” by saying the schools would be finished in 14 months.
Other school district updates include:
LSSD serving food to all kids
The Lebanon Special School District began serving free breakfast and lunch to children 18 and under, regardless of district affiliation. Children must be present to receive a meal. For a listing of the locations and times, visit https://tinyurl.com/ud4kmqb.
WCS hosting food pickup
Wilson County Schools will be providing 2-day meal packages for pick up for children within the community 18 years or younger, between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 noon. Children must be present to pick up meals – parents cannot take meals without children present.
Days this week include today (March 25) and Friday. Schools include Lebanon High School, Gladeville Middle School, Springdale Elementary School, West Elementary and Watertown Middle School.
State partners with food website
The Tennessee Department of Education has partnered with www.schoolmealfinder.com to list the places in the country which are providing meals for students at this time. The information is broken down by address.
WCS new student enrollment
New Student Enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year and Pre-Enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year are now open. Returning Student Registration will open July 8, 2020. For more information, visit https://tinyurl.com/vgywmdb.
WCS graduation, prom
Wright said in a video announcement last week that the 2020 seniors will graduate this year.
“It might not be at Murphy Center, but you’re going to graduate,” she said. “We’re not talking about making them hold on until August. Prom might not be in April. It might not be in May. You might have to be really creative and have a prom in July or August.”
FCS students learning online
Friendship Christian Schools will begin At-Home Distance Learning beginning March 26.
MJCA classes now online
Mt. Juliet Christian School students began online classes on Monday.