The Rutherford County Board of Education expressed its concerns regarding the lack of space available for teachers, students, and storage at the board of education meeting on Wednesday.
Dr. James Sullivan said, “We have an extra gym class on what used to be the stage. We have split our structured setting CDC classroom into four different classrooms, so they have different pods within that structured setting. Every teacher work room but one has been turned into a classroom.”
Due to the lack of space in the current Rutherford County schools, storage rooms and offices have been converted into additional classrooms. One Rutherford County School are reportedly using seven portable classrooms for 300 students.
“We got an email from a parent that was spot on with their concerns – it does put extra stress which does hurt the morale of the school, because one teacher is going to have to take 28 kids, while the other only takes 14, because that’s literally all they can fit in that space.”
The board agrees that expanding current school facilities would solve the crowded classes, but they say they lack the time to wait for construction to be completed.
Trey Lee looked said that while bussing students to other schools could be an option, it comes with limitations and costs. “When you start looking at getting further out, the component that we then have to look at is our bus system situation, because we’re limited by state law on how long a child can be on a bus,” he said; adding, “So, it gets very difficult in your ‘rural areas’ and it becomes very difficult to get those children picked up on a bus. Now, I can add another route, if you want me to, and put 15-20 kids on a bus, but you’re looking at $65,000 to $70,000 to add another route.”
“Even our smallest high school – which we consider Seagal High School to be pretty small because we have open seats there – is a top 25 sized school in the state of Tennessee,” Sullivan said.
The board is continuing to move students to schools with available spaces and is adding additional portable classrooms to the budget for 2023.
Watch the meeting:
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