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Rumors fly on school cuts

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By Damon Lawrence

Without additional funding from the county, the Roane County Board of Education will have to decide what cuts to make to its program.
And while rumors on school closing and program elimination have been flying, nothing has been decided at this point, according to Board Member Wade McCullough.
“I know there is a lot of stuff out there in different lands of media land that we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that, schools are going to be closed and that,” he said. “The board of education has not spoken about any of those cuts.”
Some of the people who spoke at Monday’s public hearing on the county’s 2013-14 budget expressed concerns about the closing of Midway High School, which  just recently underwent some major renovations.  
“I haven’t seen it, but they tell me it’s all over Facebook that we’re going to close Midway High School,” Vice Chairman Everett Massengill said. “I got a couple of calls and I told them we’re not closing Midway High School.”
Massengill represents the Midway area.
“It’s not going to close,” he said.
The school system, facing a budget shortfall, has asked the commission for a 14-cent increase in the property tax rate.
Director of Schools Gary Aytes said previously that no additional funds means some painful cuts will have to be made by the school board.
“I saw it on television myself that Midway High School may be closed,” Commissioner Ray Cantrell said. “How that got to where it did I don’t know, but the statement was definitely made. That’s not going to be the responsibility of the commission if that takes place.”
Aytes is on vacation and didn’t attend Monday’s meetings on the budget.