ELIZABETHTON — The Carter County School Board and the City of Elizabethton School Board are both planning changes to school funding formulas, but the boards are considering different formulas, with one seen as a big funding improvement of one of the school systems, while the other change in formula could eliminate a benefit of the school meals program during the pandemic.
Lindsey Feathers, director of school nutrition for the Carter County School System, told her board on Thursday that Congress is reviewing federal school lunch regulations for next year and that procedures may used during the COVID-19 pandemic are not extended. This year school meals were free for students, but Feathers said next year procedures could revert to the days before the pandemic.
Feathers told the board she would continue to closely monitor congressional actions regarding the federal school lunch program.
On Thursday, the superintendent of schools in the city of Elizabethton, Richard VanHuss, sent a more optimistic message to his council.
“We continue to monitor the state legislature’s progress on the potential new funding formula for education,” VanHuss said. “We are excited about what this could mean for schools in the City of Elizabethton. It would be an increase in funding. We don’t know exactly what the number would look like at this point. Preliminary numbers look favorable for the district.
“The fact that it’s a student-based model will be to our advantage,” VanHuss said. “The fact that the governor is proposing to add another billion dollars to education in Tennessee, we’re very excited about that. It’s a lot better than what we have now.
In other areas, Carter County Schools Superintendent Tracy McAbee profiled some students who once again had a successful season in robotics.
Seniors Jackson Taylor, Ryan Eggers, and sophomore Abigail Steele are members of Happy Valley High School’s robotics team. They recently showed the school board what the robots they made themselves can accomplish. Another team member, Zach Stephens, was unable to attend as he was competing on the track.
Eggers told the board that “me and Jackson have been on this team for about five or six years. We have had a very competitive team in national competition for a long time. We’ve competed against private academies that cost $32,000 a year and we’ve beaten them many times. With the continuation of this program, great things will happen.
Eggers could make that prediction because he and Taylor plan to help him stay at the high level he is now, despite both starting at Tennessee Tech next fall.
“We’re going to be mentors for the program,” Eggers told the board. He said he has already started projects to help move the program forward and that program mentor Kyle Hunt is starting a program at the elementary school level.
Eggers then proudly told the board that there were 72 potential members for the program next year.
“I have a feeling this program is going to last a long time.”
Eggers said the program was the best public school program in the state this year and has been in the top 10 in the state every year since their freshman year.
Each year, their program includes state powers like Franklin Road Academy, Chattanooga Christian Academy, and Brentwood Academy.