School vouchers opposed at the local level

While newly elected Gov. Bill Lee may favor school vouchers, those who represent the county on a local level do not.

And that’s not just true for Anderson County, but for Knox and Campbell Counties as well.

State Rep. John Ragan was recently named the chairperson for the Tennessee education committee, and at one time leaned toward being more pro-voucher, according to Clinton City Schools directory Kelly Johnson.

“His viewpoint is that it helps failing districts,” Johnson said during last month’s Clinton city council meeting.

“In the conversations I’ve had with him, he feels like all three school systems in Anderson County are quality, and I don’t think he realizes the impact it would have on effective school districts as well.”

But Ragan, in a conversation with The Courier News, said that although he supports the voucher system that is already in place for failing students and failing schools, he isn’t in favor of pursuing a change in policy.

“I’m not going to take a firm position because of my committee leadership,” he said, “but the likelihood of the legislation surviving is very limited. If a voucher system was proposed that had some very finely drawn limits around it and addressed a specific educational problem that wasn’t addressed otherwise, it might have a chance.

Read More

A new way to buy a good read

Students can buys words from a vending machine

A refurbished vending machine allows Clinton Middle students the opportunity to purchase a book for a buck.
In the abbreviated words of Mark Twain, “All ideas are second hand.”

Clinton Middle School graphic arts teacher, Angela Whitley, is no stranger to scouring the internet for some of these innovative ideas.

Earlier in the school year, she brought the idea of a book vending machine to academic coach, April Meyers. Knowing that the novelty of a vending machine that dispenses books would be a great addition to their literacy program, Meyers set to work on emailing vending machine companies in the East Tennessee area.

“I really didn’t have high hopes for anything spectacular. I would have been thrilled with some obsolete machine that had been sitting in a warehouse for a decade,” said Meyers.

But this isn’t what Dan Watson of Five Star Food Service had in mind. After a few emails back and forth, Meyers received an email stating that the machine was to be delivered.

On Wednesday, Jan. 30, an LED, digital vending machine was delivered and donated to Clinton Middle School.

Meyers stated, “Not only did they deliver and install it, but they spent time helping me set it up and teaching me how to work the machine so that we could keep it going for years to come.”

Right now, all of the vending machine books are being searched out from donations with the help of librarian Janine Brewer, but Meyers plans to use all the funds generated by the machine to buy more books when donations get slow.

Not only will students be able to buy books for $1, they’ll also use the machine as an incentive for the CMS Forty Book Challenge, providing dollars to students who’ve reached a reading goal so they can get their next book to read!

If you would like to donate books for the CMS Book Vending Project, please contact April Meyers at

Academic Honors

Several area students made the President’s List at Roane State Community College.


Samantha Campbell, Matthew Fisher, Matthew Lovelace, Stephen Payne, and Hannah White.


Shantelle Bailey, Ricky Burns, James Carney, Logan Davis, Matthew Denman, James Hensley, Gabrielle McCarty, Margaret McKamey, Victoria Ooten, Anasten Pemberton, Jacey Queener, Jordan Queener, Summer Seiber, and Kaylee Webber.


Haley Wooliver.

Lake City

Kacie Creech.

Oak Ridge

Emily Brewer, Lindsey Burtis-Fuller, Amy Calvert, Shaelyn Deal, Steven Evans, Jacob Hammonds, and Natalie Kraeske.

, Erin McDonald, Lindsey Riikola, Mari-Ruth Roysden, Kasey Smith, Haley Snyder, Janet Thomas, Lawrence Vance, Qiuping Wang, and Kayla Woodard.

Rocky Top

Olivia Harmon.