By fall, the Maryville Board of Education expects to have a clearer vision for what type of school it will need to build within the next decade.

The school board Monday approved a $24,000 contract for Cope Architecture to study five options for when Coulter Grove and Montgomery Ridge intermediate schools reach their capacity for students in grades four through seven.

Based on enrollment projections, Maryville expects that to happen in eight to 10 years, but schools Director Mike Winstead has explained that the decision for what to do later will affect how the district spends money in the coming years — from school renovations to possible land acquisition.

The options Maryville City Schools presented to Cope are building:

• A middle school for grades seven and eight, while converting the current junior high to a ninth grade academy and expanding Sam Houston Elementary (SHE)

• A third intermediate school and expanding the junior high, if necessary

• A second junior high, with both then serving grades seven through nine, and expanding SHE

• A fourth elementary school and moving fourth grade from the intermediate schools to the elementary schools, while expanding the junior high if necessary

• A new Sam Houston Elementary and making the current SHE building a campus for seventh graders, which would be considered part of the nearby junior high.

Under the contract, Cope will gather input from the community and school staff, plus estimate construction and operating costs for each option.

Raises

The school board Monday also approved its 2019-20 budget, which now goes to the City Council for action next month.

The $55.5 million general purpose budget includes a 4% raise for employees. “This is the highest we’ve done in my 10 years here,” Winstead said.

Depending on revenues, the school district might have to delay some capital projects because of the raises, but board member Candy Morgan said before the vote, “It’s important to take care of the teachers first.”

Maryville plans to add four teachers because of enrollment growth and add half-time positions at five schools for counseling or programming needs.

The salary schedule approved for the 2019-20 school year includes new rates for substitute teachers, starting at $68 a day for those with only a high school diploma. Substitutes with a college degree will earn $78, and those with a teaching license $93.

In other action Monday, the board approved:

• A new three-year transportation contract with Rocky Top Tours LLC, with an option to renew annually for three additional years. The first year of the contract sets a price of $811,123.74 for 21 buses.

• The lone bid of L&M Contractors for $83,926 to install sidewalks at John Sevier Elementary. Maryville City Schools will cover $25,162 for the sidewalks near the school building, and funds from John Sevier will cover $58,764 for a walking trail in a recreation area being developed as the Fox’s Burrow behind the school.

• The low bid of $59,525 for Anderson Lumber to install bleachers at the new track.

• The low bid of $1,100 per classroom for George Hamby Painting at JSE. More than 20 teachers are expected to switch classrooms over the summer, and Winstead said it was a good time to do the painting.

Amy Beth earned her degree from West Virginia. She joined The Daily Times in 2016 on the education beat covering Alcoa, Maryville and Blount County school systems.

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