WCS schools

State-wide testing for Wilson County Schools students begins on May 4, WCS director Dr. Donna Wright told the WCS board of education at its April 29 workshop.

There is a three-week testing window for schools, but there will not be 15 days of testing. Every school will set its own testing window, she noted.

High school students will return to learning in a 4-by-4 block of classes next school year, Wright said. That means the students will take four courses in the fall and four courses in the spring. The classes are longer than those on a seven-period day, which is what the students are learning in this year.

There will be no reduction of teachers because the current teachers are all in the WCS budget for the 4-by-4 block schedule. Therefore, there will be no budget impact on how the students are scheduled.

Mt. Juliet High School was “overstaffed” during the 2020-21 school year and six of those positions will be eliminated. That is due to lack of student interest in their classes, Wright said.

“I want to make sure we can get to the block, if that’s what the board wants, but I don’t want to get there by eliminating something else,” WCS Chairman Larry Tomlinson.

Jason Morris, from Kaatz, Binkley, Jones and Morris, architects in Mt. Juliet, presented varying plans for Stoner Creek Elementary and West Wilson Middle School. The two schools were destroyed in the March 3, 2020, tornadoes.

Morris said if the board approves them on May 3, his company can start creating construction documents to include in the bid process.

It will take approximately 30 days to receive bids from construction companies and the architects will review them for one to two weeks. He said he hopes that the construction can begin in August.

The district has opened a window for parents who want their student to transfer out of the SCES zone for the next school year. The option will close May 7 and will be reviewed by WCS attendance director Stan Moss’ office. Parents should be given a decision by May 16, Wright said.

Tomlinson talked about the contract for new WCS Director Jeff Luttrell and said Wright’s contract was a “standard contract.”

Tomlinson said the board will come together to discuss the contract. They will then send it to WCS board attorney Mike Jennings for review and to make changes. The board will then vote on the contract and, if approved, the contract will be presented to Luttrell. He will begin his duties on July 1, after Wright retires on June 30.

There are 24,000 high schools across the U.S. and 354 across Tennessee. Mt. Juliet High School ranked 30th in the state and 2,066th across the country. Wilson Central High School came in at 53rd across Tennessee and 3,806th across the U.S.

Four of WCS high schools have ranked high across the United States, according to the magazine and online site, “U.S. News and World Report,” Wright said.

Lebanon High School ranked 85th across the state and 5,984th across the U.S. Watertown High School ranked 118th in Tennessee and 7,778th across the country. Green Hill High School was not ranked this year because it is a new school and there was no established data, such as Advanced Placement information.

Tomlinson has been named to the All-Tennessee School Board and GHHS was named high school of the year, as far as new construction is concerned. Those were announced in the Tennessee School Board Association’s April journal.

Special Called Meeting

The board approved, in a special called meeting, the lease contract for 20 newly built portable units to replace classrooms at Stoner Creek Elementary. The vote was unanimous.

The motion was contingent on Vanguard Modular Building Systems, the company which will build the portables, accepting language which was sent by WCS on April 28. Late on Thursday, Vanguard contacted board attorney Lauren Bush to say the changes were “very standard and we hopefully get the changed contract by the end of the week.”

Therefore, the board did not get to see the final contract with Vanguard, but voted that the Executive Committee, which consists of Wright and Tomlinson, would be able to sign the contract without further board approval.

Jennings also looked over the contract and submitted changes, according to Tennessee state law.

As the units are built, they will be delivered from Vanguard’s manufacturing facility in Georgia. They will not get them all at one time, according to Bush. The school district has contingencies in place if they are delayed by one to two weeks, she said.

The cost for the lease will be approximately $1.9 million over the two-year contract. The board will have to pay for utility connections such as plumbing, electricity and internet.