School board discusses takeover of low-performing schools, new construction

Hamilton County Board of Education members study information packets during their meeting in September.

Talk of new school construction and low-performing schools dominated the Hamilton County Board of Education's meeting Thursday night, and the deadly Nov. 21 bus crash and news of Signal Mountain and Red Bank considering the launch of separate school districts was not discussed.

Both municipalities plan to seat committees to research the feasibility of starting separate school districts, and East Ridge and Soddy-Daisy are considering doing the same in coming weeks. The move would take money away from the county school system and likely create a legal battle over the school buildings, but the board avoided the topic Thursday.

Instead, board members focused on two other urgent issues facing the school system: aging buildings and the potential state takeover of low-performing schools.

Five of Hamilton County's predominately poor and minority schools - Brainerd High, Dalewood Middle, Woodmore Elementary, Orchard Knob Elementary and Orchard Knob Middle - will be taken over by the state-run Achievement School District if test scores do not dramatically improve this school year.