Jonesborough school deal to be signed today

Robert Houk • Updated Nov 18, 2019 at 6:42 PM

Officials with the town of Jonesborough, Washington County and the county’s Board of Education will sign a first-of-its-kind inter-local agreement for the construction of a $32.75 million K-8 school and sports complex in Jonesborough.

Representatives from the three governmental agencies are scheduled to gather at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Washington County Courthouse to officially ink the deal.

The ceremonial signing of the document comes after the County Commission voted on Oct. 28 to approve a 40-year lease-purchase agreement with the town to finance and construct the project.

The four-part deal includes an inter-local agreement (which was first approved by the school board in September), a lease for the school building, a lease for the sports complex and a purchase-option agreement.

The stakeholders in the Jonesborough school project will soon appoint their members to the design committee. Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy is one of the county’s two members of the committee. Another will be appointed from the County Commission.

Commission Chairman Greg Matherly said last month he hopes that slot will be filled at the board’s regular meeting on Nov. 25.

The town of Jonesborough will appoint two members, one being a parent from the Jonesborough school district. Jonesborough Mayor Chuck Vest will also serve as member of the design committee, as well as Town Administrator Bob Browning.

The school board will be represented on the design committee for the Jonesborough school project by its three members elected from the Jonesborough school district — Mary Beth Dellinger, Todd Ganger and Phillip McLain. Phillip Patrick, the school system’s maintenance supervisor, will also serve on the committee.

Washington County Commissioner Jim Wheeler, who is also the town’s attorney, told the Johnson City Press the next phase of the project includes receiving approval from the state’s office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Agency.

That work will require getting all the lease documents finalized and submitting a written application to rural development before Dec. 31 to help the town lock in a favorable interest rate. Wheeler said that paperwork will also include an environmental assessment and other supporting documents needed to secure a loan from the agency.

In addition to the work outlined by the inter-local and lease agreements for the school project, Grandy has been given an additional job by the County Commission.

The board voted last month to approve a resolution asking Grandy to negotiate with Johnson City officials to “to identify the terms that would resolve dispute over the interpretation of the Jonesborough proposal.”