Hamilton Co. school board votes to begin discussion on partnersh - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Hamilton Co. school board votes to begin discussion on partnership with state

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

The Hamilton County school board voted to move forward with conversations with the state about what a Partnership Zone will look like Thursday night. 

The board was faced with two decisions; partner with the state or let the state take over, which would result in the five I-Zone (low-performing) schools falling into the state's Achievement School District (ASD). The five I-Zone schools are: Brainerd High, Dalewood Middle, Orchard Knob Elementary, Orchard Knob Middle and Woodmore Elementary.

The vote on the Partnership was not on Thursday night's agenda. However, Laura Encalade, Chief of Staff for the Tennessee Department of Education who was at Thursday's meeting, said the state expected the board to vote in its September meeting. School board chairman Steve Highlander said a formal request was not submitted for the vote to be added.

The resolution to being conversation with the state was added to Thursday's agenda after a vote, but some board members were frustrated at the thought of this decision being dragged out any longer. 

"I have nothing left to ask. Everything I have asked over the last five months has been answered on this. I just don't even see what else you can possibly answer for us at this point," said Tiffanie Robinson, district 4 board member. 

District 5 board member, Karista Jones agreed. 

"Personally I feel like we have two evils so I'm trying to pick the less of two evils because we have to do what's best for these kids. I think we have a great plan in place with the opportunity zone; it's already working and we now have to do something from a state aspect because the state is telling us they have to do something legally to address what has not been done here," said Jones. 

According to Encalade, all five I-Zone schools would have fallen into the Achievement School District, which is run by the state, based off of recent test scores. 

It's not clear when the board will officially begin conversation with the state.

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