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Schools rally to hold onto $1 million in TVA funds

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By Damon Lawrence

Officials with Roane County Schools expect a surplus when the $32 million building program is finished.  

“It looks like we’re going to have in excess of $1 million remaining,” Director of Schools Gary Aytes said at last week’s Board of Education meeting.

“Any items that have been purchased, but not paid, we’ve accounted for, we think,” added Lee Maines, who was hired to oversee the $32 million program for the school system. “We feel pretty good about our numbers.”

Maines said there’s several things left to be done at Dyllis Springs Elementary School and a few things left at Midway High School. Those shouldn’t impact the surplus, he said.

“We have a projected total cost of all projects that allows for all those items,” he said.

School officials plan to meet today — Monday — with the Roane County Economic Development Foundation about the extra money.

“We will be asking the foundation for their blessing to go ahead and use the money left from the $32 million to fund the phase 2 projects,” Aytes said.

Some of the phase 2 projects, which were not part of the $32 million program, include enlarging the band building at Roane County High School in Kingston, asbestos removal at Harriman Middle School and installing a new car lane at Ridge View Elementary School in Rockwood.

The Roane County Economic Development Foundation was started in 2009 to distribute $43 million TVA made available following the fly ash catastrophe at the Kingston Fossil Plant.

The $32 million building program was funded with that money.

Kingston Mayor Troy Beets, chairman of the foundation, told Maines last year that school officials would need to get permission from the foundation and Roane County Commission to use any surplus money for other projects.

Today’s meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the Kingston Community Center.