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Kingsport school board approves textbook adoptions

Rick Wagner • Updated Apr 15, 2019 at 12:47 PM

KINGSPORT — The Board of Education unanimously voted to do a blanket adoption of new textbooks for the cycle extending through 2026, including seventh grade social studies books adopted by Sullivan County’s school board at its April 2 meeting despite public opposition.

The board voted 5-0 to approve the adoption of all textbooks, including the McGraw-Hill seventh grade “World” book that four Sullivan County board meeting public commenters and Sullivan County school board member Jane Thomas said did not treat Islam and Christianity correctly, although other members indicated that text and others on the list simply meet standards set by the Tennessee Board of Education.

Opponents complained that the McGraw text equated the Christian God with Allah of Islam and misrepresented both religions. Meanwhile, the Sullivan County school system has set a public viewing of the blanket textbook adoption from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday at the Akard Service Center, formerly Akard Elementary School, at 224 Mount Area Drive in Bristol.

Kingsport Superintendent Jeff Moorhouse after the vote said that it was unlikely many of the textbooks would be purchased, with Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Rhonda Stringham and Lamar Smith, supervisor of federal programs, saying digital resources were often used more than textbooks. No board members or members of the public questioned the Kingsport blanket adoption.

In other action, the board:

— Approved a professional services agreement for $6,500 with architect James Wright for architectural services for the partial roof replacement at Kennedy Elementary.

— Approved a professional services agreement for $24,500 with Wright for architectural services for the roof replacement at Robinson Middle School.

— Approved a Battelle for Kids master agreement and statement of work contracts for help with implementing the Portrait of a Graduate Program, with the contract for the latter costing $29,500 and the master agreement no charge.

— Approved, in an informal vote because a formal one was not needed, the KCS revised administrative procedures for the superintendent evaluation process to match the one the board just conducted on Moorhouse. 

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