Comptroller’s Office Studies Teacher Salaries In Tennessee

Press Release

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has released a report examining how money intended to boost teacher salaries has been used by local school districts. More than $300 million in new, recurring state dollars was appropriated by the General Assembly though the state’s Basic Education Program (BEP) between fiscal years 2016 and 2018. The legislative intent for the increased state funding was to increase teacher salaries across Tennessee.
The Comptroller’s Office of Research and Education Accountability (OREA) surveyed Tennessee’s school districts, and the majority of respondents reported awarding salary increases to teachers for three consecutive years (fiscal years 2016, 2017, and 2018). Those pay raises resulted in an increase of Tennessee’s average classroom teacher salary of 6.2 percent (just under $3,000), making it the third fastest-growing state in the Southeast for teacher salaries during fiscal years 2015 through 2018.
In addition to providing raises, districts also used increased state BEP instructional salaries funds to hire more instructional staff.
OREA found that while total local revenue budgeted for school districts increased at about the same rate as BEP state revenue, salary expenditures (whether for new hires or raises) could not be linked back to their revenue source, either state or local. District budgets do not identify what portion of expenditures are paid with state funds versus local funds.
The state’s main lever for increasing state funding for salaries – the BEP formula’s salary unit cost figure – is not directly linked to pay raises for every teacher. The increased funding generated through the salary unit cost is applied only to BEP-calculated positions; most districts fund additional positions. Because districts employ more staff than are covered by BEP funding, the available state and local dollars earmarked for salaries must stretch over more teachers than the staff positions generated by the BEP.
OREA examined district expenditures and found that, statewide, districts increased spending for instructional salaries and health insurance by about 9 percent while spending on retirement increased about 8 percent. At the individual district level, the growth in salary expenditures varied, from a decrease of 10 percent to an increase of over 26 percent.
The Comptroller’s report includes policy considerations addressing how the state may wish to
implement an in-depth salary survey of selected districts to periodically obtain a more complete picture of district salary trends, as well as
develop a process to determine which districts are eligible for a separate state allocation of salary equity funding,
intended to raise teacher salaries in select districts with lower-than-average salaries.
To read the Comptroller’s report, please visit

Summer Food Service Program

Staff Report

During this school year 2018/2019, Students in Johnson County enjoyed breakfast and lunch meals at no cost through the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).
Schools officials, want to continue feeding the children this summer.
“Hunger is one of the most severe obstacles to the learning process,” said School Nutrition Director Kathy McCulloch. “Lack of nutrition during the summer months may set up a cycle for poor performance once school begins again in the fall and may cause children to be more prone to illnesses and other health issues.”
Summer Food Service Program is designed to fill that nutrition gap and make sure children can get the nutritious meals they need.
McCulloch emphasized that while feeding children is the number one priority of the Summer Food Service Program, it takes many volunteers to keep the children fed.
USDA requires that all children remain at the site while consuming their meals. Children are not allowed to take a meal and leave.
“We ask that parents, please cooperate and follow these regulations,” she said.
Summer meals are offered to any child ages 1 – 18. Meals are also available to purchase for adults.
Please contact Johnson County School Foodservice at 727-2657 if any questions or would like to apply to host a site for the meals.

Doe Elementary Leaders of the Week

Doe Elementary School celebrated the weekly recognition of its leaders. The students
were in the spotlight this week included Gianni Guizzotti, Alyssa Gironda, Caidance Lunceford, Sophie McCloud, Garrett Ford, Karlie Lipford, Evangelina Furches, Daniel Palmer, Draven Walker Submitted photo

National Honor Society Recognizes Johnson County High School Students


Johnson County High School students enjoy the spotlight after being recognized by the National Honor Society last month. The 32 students stood out for their exemplary character, service, leadership, and scholarship.
Photo submitted



On April 10, 2019, the families of thirty-two juniors and seniors from Johnson County High School gathered to witness the induction ceremony for the JCHS chapter of the National Honor Society. The National Honor Society is one of the most prestigious organizations at Johnson County High School. The Society stands for Character, Service, Leadership, and Scholarship.
The names of the 2019 inductees are Chloe Arnold, Joseph Bilodeau, Ryan Bilodeau, Hannah Brooks, Colleen Conder, Kobe Cox, Brannon Dominguez, Emily Garr, Timothy Grindstaff, Kaitlin Holman, Samara Humphrey, Emily Irizarry, Hazlee Kleine, Michael Lane, Colton Long, Adam Manuel, Nathan Mink, Angel Mullis, Taylor Parsons, Peter Pavusek, Tiffany Price, Emma Robinson, Kimberly Rodriguez, Olivia Scheirer, Sarah Shaw, Dalton Sluder, Sydney Souder, Jaden Tolliver, Sadie Ward, Jisaiah Webster, Zachary Whitehead and Natalie Winters.
Out of these students, five were elected officers for the 2018-2019 school-year:
President: Adam Manuel; Vice President: Sydney Souder; Secretary: Hazlee Kleine; Treasurer: Peter Pavusek, Blood Drive Chairman: Taylor Parsons.

Skylar is Laurel Student of the week

Skylar Mason is Laurel Elementary student of the week. She is a first grader in Mrs. Knights class. She is the daughter of Tiffani Dunn and Jimmy Mason. She works hard and loves math class. She likes to play with her dog, Maple. When Skylar grows up she wants to be a nurse. Congratulations Skylar. Photo submitted

Local Teen Honored at 2019 Appalachian Highlands “Twenty Under 20” Gala

Lauren Patterson, right, receives her recognition as one of the 2019 Appalachian Highlands Twenty Under 20 class. Sponsored by Streamworks, Twenty Under 20 is designed to bring recognition to
students’ accomplishments and contributions in the region, in science, technology, robotics,
engineering, arts, and math. Streamworks Photo

By Tamas Mondovics

For the first time in the region, STREAMWORKS, powered by Eastman in Education, presented the 2019 Appalachian Highlands Twenty Under 20 Awards last month, celebrating the accomplishments of twenty individuals who are age 20 and under.
Appalachian Highlands Twenty Under 20 is designed to bring recognition to students’ accomplishments and contributions in the region, in science, technology, robotics, engineering, arts, and math.
Streamworks itself is a new educational program that delivers enhanced opportunities for students (grades K–12) to participate in exciting mentor and project-based programs that focus on science,
technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills and inspire innovation.
The awards ceremony held at the Kingsport Civic Auditorium, 1550 Fort Henry Drive in Kingsport, TN on Friday, April 30, recognized the students for their efforts in demonstrating exemplary achievements in community service, entrepreneurialism, leadership, academics, and STEM activities.
Among the honorees was Johnson County High School sophomore Lauren Patterson, a member of the school’s 63303A robotics team, that took part in the 2019 VEX State Championships in Brentwood, TN and advanced to participate in the VEX High School World Championship.
“It’s an honor to have been selected for the Twenty under 20 award, and particularly humbling when I think of the extensive amount of people that were considered,” Patterson said. “Being recognized for this award will help me stand out among the many deserving candidates as I prepare to apply for college and career areas. I will be able to explore the plentiful areas of STEM leadership further so I can help improve the world we live in today.”
In her application for consideration of this year’s Twenty under 20 Patterson added, “All of my achievements stem out of my desire to become the best person I can be so I can help others. The satisfaction I feel when I help one of my peers, or anyone who I notice is needing brings me great joy as I know that I am truly making a difference in their lives.”
It is just what Streamworks Executive Director Dennis Courtney and his group is looking for.
“We have been scratching our heads for the past couple of years to see how we can highlight what some of our outstanding students are doing in science, arts, and band, so we have decided to spend one evening in April to
celebrate their contribution to the community and what they do for STEM,” Courtney said.
As for the benefits of supporting the students,
Courtney added, “These kids are the future, and it is appropriate to highlight their achievements. These kids don’t get to accomplish great things just on science and math classes alone. The investment is our responsibility.”
Streamworks programs
include FIRST LEGO League; Robot Drone League – RDL; Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE); and MultiGP a STEM competition involving drones for students in grades 8 – 12.
Courtney emphasized that it is a “collective responsibility to ensure future generations’ success by providing them the opportunity and resources to pursue a STEM career.”

Art works at the Art Center

Johnson County High School junior Tyler Earp is hard at work while teaching a class on the potter’s wheel last week at the Johnson County Center for the Arts. Earp, the youngest juried member of the Center, enjoyed helping participants of the class to learn the basic techniques of the potter’s wheel and turning a bowl. The young artist will once again welcome participants on Thursday, May 9, as he will teach a class on glazing and firing techniques. At right, Earp demonstrates the potter’s wheel to Bethany Sannes.
Photos by Barry Sannes

Ellie Owens is Laurel Student of the week

Ellie Owens is Laurel Elementary student of the week. She is in Mrs. Knights second grade class. Her favorite subject is Math. She lives at home with her parents Nathan and Alexis and her younger siblings Zack and Emma. At home she likes to play outside with chalk and do her Sudoku puzzles. When Ellie grows up she wants to be a Veterinarian.

Local beauty queen heads to nationals

May 1, 2019

DeAnna Greer poses in her Miss Tennessee Festivals crown. Photo submitted by JCHS.

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

It’s common to hear people discuss prospering each new year. Johnson County High School junior DeAnna Greer made this a reality. In the past few weeks alone, Greer was named Miss Tennessee Festivals and earned Appalachian Highlands 20 Under 20’s recognition for her outstanding community service.

“She works so hard for our community and for the state of TN,” said aunt Tonya Townsend. She is always helping others and puts others before herself, but most importantly she keeps God first. I’m very proud of you for everything you do.”

Greer balances high school, hobbies, and work. She is a model for Advantage Modeling, student, cheerleader, gymnast, and lifeguard at the Mountain City Pool. Greer spends her free time volunteering with organizations such as Serving With Style and the Volunteerism Support Platform.

She has donated over 1,000 hours of volunteer work. Despite her achievements, Greer stays humble.

“Thank you so much,” Greer exclaimed to her supporters. “I’m so honored to represent Johnson County High School!”

Pageants may not have a great reputation in modern days, but they offer many benefits. A few benefits include increased communication skills, confidence boosts, improved stress management skills, and even scholarships.

Pageants also award participants for being conscientious and helping others. The Amerifest National Pageant is currently running a charity event to benefit homeless shelters.

Greer will attend the Amerifest National Pageant at the Sevierville Convention Center on July 26-28.

Some of her previous titles include Miss Teen South East Region 2018, Miss Teen Northeast United States 2018, Miss Teen US Novice Supreme 2018, and Miss Teen TN Beauty Supreme 2018.

Good luck DeAnna Greer!

TWR to host annual Outdoors Youth Summit for high school students

High school students take part in one of dozens of activities during TWR’s Outdoor Youth Summit. This years weeklong camp is scheduled for July 14-19, 2019 in the beautiful environment of the Clyde York 4-H center in
Crossville, Tennessee. TWR Online Photo

Staff Report
If you had to make a list of skills essential to outdoor lovers, what would be on it? Most likely you’d put down camping and hunting, which of course includes things like marksmanship, turkey calling, antler scoring, archery, wilderness survival, fishing, boat driving, plant identification, and photography. Now that’s quite a list!
But those are only a few of the activities taught at the Tennessee Outdoors Youth Summit (TOYS).
The Ninth Annual Tennessee Outdoors Youth Summit annual event will be July 14 – 19, 2019, for high school students from across Tennessee.
According to organizers the weeklong summer camp, hosted by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in cooperation with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation, is a way to teach the next generation about the exciting world of outdoor recreation.
“We are excited to hold the 2019 Summit in the natural and beautiful environment of the Clyde York 4-H center in Crossville, Tennessee,” TRW officials stated in a recent online release.
Organizers emphasized that the center is located on 190 acres of well-maintained grounds and hosts a large swimming pool with a 180 foot waterslide and two diving boards. There is a rifle and archery range, ATV trails, lakes for canoeing and kayaking, horseshoe pits and a campfire circle. There is also a sand volleyball court, covered basketball court, and softball field. All of which are lighted.
Students stay on-site in modern cabins and lodges, with dining facilities and meeting rooms. The cabins are handicap accessible with central heating and air. Students are separated by gender per cabin. Because of the center’s location, atop the beautiful Cumberland Plateau, the average temperature is cooler and usually more comfortable during the hot summer months.
Participants experience boating, hunting, trapping, archery, ATV safety, marksmanship, plant identification, forestry, camping, water quality, trap shooting, skeet shooting, wildlife identification, and several classes focusing on wildlife and fish biology.
The summit is designed to teach outdoor skills. Students will participate in hands-on classes that teach the importance of the natural resources and their management. Instructors are wildlife and fisheries biologists, wildlife officers, college professors, professional shooting coaches and experts from specific fields of interest.
Students will attend at least 10 classes during the week. They will have the opportunity to gain certification in many different programs. Those who are interested in a career specializing in natural resources management will enjoy the training that is not normally obtained until joining the work force. The Summit is changing lives. For many, it is the first time they experience these activities. Even some early students are now working for TWRA. One urban student stated “I never knew all of the things you can venture to outside of the city. You can have a lot of fun outdoors. You get to learn about everything”.
For one youth, it was a camp adventure of a lifetime. This young orphaned boy is in the custody of the state of Tennessee. He was able to join us this year with a full scholarship. He fell in love with the outdoors and now aspires to become a TWRA officer. He told our camp director, on the last day, that the summit changed his life.
The cost for the week-long experience is $350 per student which covers lodging, meals and beverages. Enrollment is limited to 120 participants. Students will be chaperoned and housed at The Clyde York 4-H center in Crossville, Tennessee. Some classes are held off-site and students will be shuttled to those destinations.
Helping these future leaders gain an understanding and appreciation of our environment today means that they will likely know enough and care enough to make a difference tomorrow. If you have a son or daughter who wants to know more about the outdoors, make new friends, and create a life-long memory, consider this event for summer.
For questions or additional information, contact Lacey Lane at (731) 415-0641 or email, Applications may be completed online or downloaded, completed and mailed from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation website at

Mountain City Elementary School Honor Roll for third nine weeks in Kindergarten-sixth grade

Mountain City Elementary School Honor Roll


Mountain City Elementary announces its honor roll for the third nine weeks in kindergarten-sixth grade. Superior Honor Roll (All A’s): Kindergarten: Emerie Hoyle, Evan Perkins, Kacy Cook, Daneilla Eppard, Casen Lewis, Lorelei Lowe, Mason Roark, Zane Spicer, Eva Walters, Faith Roberts, Kaylee Mahala, Audrey Gambill, Karsen Edes-King, Judah Norman, Jacob Brown, Levi Bishop, Easton Snyder, Lucas Reece, Paislee Evans and Mason Tolliver; First Grade: Savanna Younce, Sara Beth Pennington, Allie Mullins, Elizabeth Mann, McKenzie Jennings, Elijah Dunn, Lilly Berger, Aliyah Farrow, Molly Lipford, Hannah Sharp, Emily Butler, Braylin Hansen, Ellie Icenhour, Marley Jenkins, Addison Joyce, Barrett Parker, Gracey South and Karoline Thompson; Second Grade: Macie Farrow, Eli Hammons, Alicia Littlewhirlwind, Joseph Dowell, Peyton Edes-King, Kearstan Jennings, Camden Johnson, Rylan Jones, Tanner Leonard, Hailey Lipford, Clara Wilson, Nicole Eppard, Savannah Mains and Amillia Eckert; Third Grade: Isaiah Eller, Haidyn Farrow, Liyah Hillman, Gavin Mahala, Jillian Perkins, Makenzie Dickens, Sawyer Marshall, Bobby Sexton, Johnathon Garza, Jayleigh Kope and Zackary Lipford; Fourth Grade: Ella Icenhour, Kacelyn Dunn, Eli Horne, Gracie Butler, Graham Long, Jill Jensen, Kassidy Biestek and Addy Snyder; Fifth Grade: Emma Dugger, Josie Grindstaff, Katie Timbs, Carsen Jennings, Kaden Blevins, Lyric Fritts, Julia Crews and Harris Perkins; Sixth Grade: Sadie Hood, Alen Lin, Sydney Prater, Ariel Tester, Allison Trivette, Malya Collins, Kylah Henley, Destiny Johnson, Ariana Spencer, Noah Brown, Cameron Crowder, Bella Lowe, Kaylee Roark and Cole Smith.

First Honor Roll (All A’s and B’s): Kindergarten: Addison Arnold, Lucas Cretsinger, Tristan Eckert, Zachary Mckinnis, Millie Thomas, Charlee Wells, Trystan Eller, Mariano Espinoza, Nola Furches, Layla Maddy, Madden Reynolds, Natileigh Dolinger, Joanna Kope and Brantley Jones; First Grade: Kylee Cannon, Konner Self, Skyler Robbins, Kingston Mills, Kayla Bumgardner, Mason Gregg, Nyiah Reece, Coleman Rider, Sheylin South, Ethan Wilson, Aaliyah Barnett and Mason Luckett; Second Grade: Lindsey Bryan, Reece Bulliner, Michelle Chambers, Issabella Eckert, Andrea Gonzalez, Lauren Henley, Sebastian Johnson, Katey Marshall, Jerimiah McEwen, Evan Stamper, Addie Ward, Jayden Anderson, Avery Blevins, Alex Espinoza, Kelsey Forrester, Reese Wells, Wyatt Worley, River Burgess, Scotty Orndorff, Zach Roark, Andrew South and Ja’Kevyon Beard; Third Grade: Sophia Lin, Hunter McElyea, Arraya Mounts, Emma Miller, Abby Sluder, Alex Wright, Gage Grissom, Elisabeth Bundy, Clayton Furches, Aiden Hope, Jaylinn Johnson, Lyric Mosley, Zoey Pope, Lucas Dunn, Yazmine Collins, Emilynn Sedgwick, and Carson Dorman; Fourth Grade: Carter Atwood, Rylee Henson, C.J. Lipford, Maelie Luckett, Leah Mason, Ethan Robinson, Mason Spicer, Rissa Stevans, Brayden Taylor, Michael Watson, Summer Wells, Jackson Bauguess, Jayln Blevins, Tamra Brooks, Sebastian Ferguson, Karlie Jo Fletcher, Alexis Juarez, Kyle Maple, Aleela Reece, Karleigh Sutherland, Braxton Bragg, Emma Brown, Jada Furches, Chloe Johnson, Lanaya Joyce, Emmie Lamarr, Trinity Poe, Nate Price, Emma Roark, Eli Tester and Kaden Jones; Fifth Grade: Constance Blankenship, Gaven Condor, Cameron Lewis, Isaac Lewis, Josh Potter, Dylan Warren, Keegan Wright, Kimberly Bonilla, Isabella Ferguson, Josiah McEwen, Lexi Mullins, Emily Orr, Chris Canter, Reagan Greene, Hunter Paisley, Ben Reece, Gracie Hammet, Krystal kite, Clayton Lewis, Landin Lipford, Ethan Smith, Nate Sutherland and Paola Vargas; Sixth Grade: Jasmine Cunningham, Carter Rhudy, Tory Torbett, Peyton Woodward, Mimi Zaldivar, Ghania Baig, Derek Baird, Madisyn Farrow, Chloe Ferguson, Ivy Lakatos, Zachary Lunceford, LaRue Mills and Sara Ward.

Doe Pre K Leaders of the Week

Doe Pre K Leaders Front row – Bryson Porter, Jada Dugger, Mikayla Griffith, Isabella Cox, Carter Ellison. Middle Row – Patience Williams, Mason Wilson, Addison Johnson, Wesston Sluder, Kayden Proffitt, Roman Dugger. Back Row – Emily Lewis, Cooper Leach, Noah Robbins, Kynnedi Perry, Parker Lundy, Riley Smit. (not pictured – Mason Berryhill, Mason Main, Zander Webb) Teachers – Miranda Horne and Lorrie Shumate. Leader in Me website ( Photo submitted

Sarah Tugman is Laurel Student of the week

Sarah Tugman was chosen as student of the week by her peers. She is in Mr. Taylors fourth grade class. Sarah is the daughter of Kathy and Ken Tugman. She has one brother Jacob. In her spare time, she likes to play Minecraft and she loves to play outside in nature. When she grows up, she wants to be a wild life veterinarian. Congratulations to Sarah. Congrats Sarah!

Statewide Public Charter School Authorizer Bill Passes

Report by

Following approval by the House last week, the Senate passed HB940/ SB796 sending the bill to the Governor’s desk for his signature. This piece of legislation is a signature piece of Governor Lee’s 2019 legislative agenda and establishes a nine-member statewide public charter school authorizer commission to help establish more good public charter schools and close those that are not performing well. The new commission will have the authority to review on appeal applications to establish a new charter school if denied by a local school board. This piece of legislation will also allow the commission to serve as a local education agency for any public charter school it authorizes.
At Tennesseans for Student Success, we believe this legislation will have a positive impact on the expansion of high-quality public charter schools across the state by
ensuring the charter school appellate process is consistent.
Also, we hope this will increase the number of high-quality applications to establish new public charter schools.
We thank Governor Lee for his commitment to
improving access to excellent public education options and ensuring success for all our students!

TCAT to begin registration in May

Staff report

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn.—Students at the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology will register for classes online for the summer term that begins May 1.
All student functions will be in the new Banner Computer System offering a greatly improved student experience for TCATs– including self-service payment, student records, grading, attendance, financial aid processing, and other key student services, according to Dean Blevins, president of TCAT Elizabethton.
“The next major step in this process starts on the first day of the next term, when TCAT faculty start recording class attendance in Banner”, Blevins said.
Online student registration, financial aid services and payment for the entire TCAT system launched April 9 with the Banner System, which has been used at Tennessee’s community colleges for several years.
As of April 17, more than 5,000 students have registered online. The upgraded services for TCAT students is part of a larger Shared Services initiative at the College System of Tennessee.
It includes administration of several business office functions for the colleges – such as payroll processing, accounting and budgeting and procurement through a Shared Services Center at the Tennessee Board of Regents system office.
“Faculty will assist students as they register online for classes beginning May 1,” Blevins said.
More than 900 students attend TCAT Elizabethton each trimester at the Main Campus, located at 426 Highway 91 north and the Arney Street
extension campus, 1500 Arney Street, both in Elizabethton, and on the ETSU at Kingsport campus, 1501 University Blvd., Kingsport.
For additional information, contact TCAT Elizabethton at 423-543-0070 or visit
Main Campus, 426 Highway 91 North, Elizabethton, Tennessee 37643, Telephone 423-543-0070.

Dylan Blevins is Laurel Elementary Student of the Week

Dylan Blevins has been chosen student of the week by his peers. Dylan is in Mrs.Savery’s fifth grade class at Laurel Elementary. His favorite book is Harry Potter and his favorite television show is Star Wars. He likes to read and play on his tablet. When he grows up, Dylan would like to become a scientist. Congratulations Dylan.
Photo submitted

Laurel Elementary Third Nine Weeks Honor Roll Kindergarten thru Sixth Grade

All A’s
Emily Blankenship
Dylan Blevins
Jasper Eckert
Penelope Luna
Ellie Owens
Zachary Owens
Sofia Perez
Emma Savery
Kaylee Stanley
Ava Taylor
Lily West
Micah West
River Younce

A’s & B’s
Johnny Blankenship
Jenna Eckert
Aleah Hampton
Kaleb Hicks
Kendon Keith
Marley Matheson
Rayley Matheson
Ryleigh Miller
Zoey Muncy
Rebekah Perez
Rileigh Reece
Lily Savery
Nevaeh Swift
Owen Taylor