Bradley County Board of Education members heard updates on a new grant and building-related projects throughout the school system Thursday night.
The local school system recently received a nearly $4.5 million Youth CareerConnect grant that will be used to help the career and technical education offerings at Bradley Central High School and Walker Valley High School.
“We’re very excited about all this can do,” said Arlette Robinson, the system’s career and technical education supervisor.
The grant money will be used for project-based learning projects and the purchase of things like robotics and electrical equipment, among others.
After comments from her and grant coordinator Patti Hunt, the Board of Education turned its attention to an ongoing discussion of the previously collected liquor-by-the-drink taxes the system believes Cleveland city government owes to the county.
Board Chair Vicki Beaty said they were awaiting the status of a bill being considered in the current Tennessee General Assembly to see how that would affect their case.
Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel said he had spoken to state Sen. Todd Gardenhire about a bill that could clarify part of the state law on liquor tax collection that had been in question.
The proposed bill would dictate that tax revenues collected in a city would go to a city’s school system if it had one, but McDaniel said it also would be “consenting to the fact that there were monies” owed to county school systems in locations like Cleveland which have both city and county systems.
Beaty said the bill would “greatly” impact the county school system if passed because the law would no longer require any of the money collected in the city to go to the county.
In building-related discussions, McDaniel said the recently built addition at Walker Valley High School is closer to being ready for students to occupy in the fall. The system is still waiting for an insurance company to approve the designs of a proposed auditorium renovation at Lake Forest Middle School that would add a second emergency exit and provide restrooms and dressing rooms.
The school system is also in discussions with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to address a traffic problem at Hopewell Elementary School. The school system is wanting to discuss how TDOT can help improve traffic patterns at the school as it widens nearby Highway 60, and McDaniel said he has an appointment to meet with TDOT officials next Monday.
Beaty said a joint committee between the school board and the Bradley County Commission to address the problem is waiting to have its first meeting until after its members hear what TDOT officials have to say.
The school system also approved the adoption of new social studies textbooks in Bradley County’s middle and high schools this fall. However, the social studies curriculum will remain the same in county elementary schools.