A way to give back… City BOE waives tuition for City of Elizabethton employees

Published 8:05 pm Thursday, May 27, 2021

The City of Elizabethton has been looking for ways to enhance the retention of its employees and may have gotten a shot in the arm during the recent Elizabethton School Board meeting.

By a unanimous vote, the City Board of Education voted to allow children of City of Elizabethton employees to attend school in the city district without having to pay tuition.

For many Elizabethton city employees that live in the county and outside the city limits, that equated to getting a raise by saving on the cost of tuition they may have been paying for their children to attend city schools.

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“We have kicked around this possibility for several years and that possibility is allowing City of Elizabethton employees to bring their children to our system tuition-free,” stated Director of Schools Richard VanHuss.

“We pulled all of our tuition students list from every school and then I took an employee list from the City of Elizabethton and I compared those. In the City of Elizabethton employees, we are talking fire department, police department, water department, electric system, and City Hall and I think they have roughly 250ish employees.

“When I did that comparison and went through a calculated the amount of tuition that we are talking about here, it was under $15,000,” VanHuss continued. “All that to say, the financial impact by doing this to the district is fairly minimum.

“Why even consider this? Well, we as an entity as Elizabethton City Schools, they are our funding body. What does that mean – we are all the time going to them and asking them for support and that’s fine because that’s what they are there for.

“This gives us an opportunity to give back – to go one time and say, “Hey we are not asking for something, but we are going to give you something.”

VanHuss went on to share with the school board how that he had attended a City Council meeting a couple of months back and the talk was about how they were having a hard time holding onto employees especially those that work on repairing water lines and employees with street sanitization and other groups.

The Director said by doing this might help with that retention because if an employee is paying $800 in tuition, that would be like an $800 raise for that employee.

He added that it would be a positive for the school system and a positive for the City of Elizabethton.

There are still things in place that students must qualify for to be admitted but if they are accepted then it would be at no cost to the City employees.