UPDATE: After much debate and discussion, the Hamilton County school board voted 7-2 Thursday night to move forward with conversations with the state about what a Partnership Zone will look like.
The state gave the district two options — a state-run Achievement School District or a shared governance with a proposed Partnership Zone — for intervention in the five priority schools, or iZone schools, that have shown a pattern of low performance: Brainerd High, Dalewood Middle, Orchard Knob Elementary, Orchard Knob Middle and Woodmore Elementary.
Each of the district's priority schools, with the exception of Brainerd High, were put on notice in 2002. In 2012 they were placed on the state's priority, or iZone, list. All five of the district's iZone schools have failed to move off the list, with little to no improvement despite being given more than $11 million in grants over the past four years.
The vote on the Partnership Zone was not on Thursday night's agenda, despite State Education Commissioner Candice McQueen stating previously that she expected the board to vote in its September meeting. School board chairman Steve Highlander said the vote was not placed on the agenda because it was not formally requested.
This is a developing story. See complete report in Friday's Times Free Press.
ORIGINAL STORY: The Hamilton County school board is expected to continue its ongoing discussion regarding the county's five lowest-performing schools during this evening's school board meeting.
The Tennessee Department of Education warned the school system last year that it may take over at least some of the schools if academic progress is not made, because the schools have struggled for more than a decade to post gains.
In April, the state presented an alternative to a full take-over, proposing that the school system and state work together to create a Partnership Zone to support the schools.
It's not clear whether the board is will vote on the state's Partnership Zone proposal during this evening's board meeting, but some board members say that is a possibility.
In a committee meeting scheduled prior to the regular board meeting, discussions regarding evaluation tools for new Superintendent Bryan Johnson are expected to continue.
Additionally, a group of parents from the Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts say they are planning to be at the school board meeting to discuss new building costs. The group of parents are concerned about the price estimates associated with repairs or reconstruction for the top schools on the county's priority list of needed repairs. For the past six months, the group has researched the historical cost of school construction in the region.