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Report: Campbell votes to shutter alternative school to close budget gap

Facing a $1.8 million budget shortfall, the Campbell County School Board voted Tuesday night to shut down the county’s alternative school and reintegrate those students back to schools in Jellico and LaFollette.

As first reported by the Volunteer Times, the budget deficit that needed to be addressed is due to declining enrollment numbers at county schools, which directly affects the money provided to the schools by the state under its Basic Education Program, or BEP.

The Board did vote to reverse an earlier recommendation to remove the sixth through eighth grades from White Oak School after parents, teachers and other stakeholders voiced their displeasure.

The Times reports that school leaders, including Director Jennifer Fields, had stressed through the budget process that they would be looking to make cuts with an eye toward impacting as few students as possible.

Fields told the Times that closing the Homer A. Rutherford Learning Academy will save at least $215,000 a year. Students attending that school will either go back to the school for which they are zoned, or could choose homeschooling as an alternative. She described the decision as the largest cut affecting the most students.

More money was saved in the budget by deciding not to replace retiring teachers, offering incentives for early retirement and reducing the number of adminstrative positions.

For more information on this story, visit www.volunteertimes.com.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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