Buncombe Family Petitions to Annex into Goreville Schools

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By Hilary LeHew
By Jared Roberts

JOHNSON COUNTY -- A decision on where two Johnson County children go to school is now in the hands of a judge. Their family successfully petitioned to move from the Buncombe-Vienna Districts to Goreville. However, the district they're trying to leave has appealed.

The Regional School Board approved the annexation last summer, so the Trainor family enrolled their twins in Goreville's kindergarten class. Now, the Buncombe-Vienna school district is fighting that decision.
   
It's all about what's best for the kids, but everyone has their own ideas on what that means in this legal battle over Johnson County school districts.
 
"We're a good district. We educate our children well," said Bumcombe Superintendent Vicky Tripp.
 
Paul and Sarah Trainor live along Lick Creek Road in Buncombe, which means their kids are supposed to attend Buncombe Elementary and Vienna High School.
 
But, they filed a petition to detach from those school districts and annex into neighboring Goreville Schools.
    
Their lawyer, Tim Denny, says the Trainors believe it's in their children's best interest. "A family whose work, business relationships, church relationships, family relationships, are all centered around the Goreville area," he explained.
 
Superintendent Tripp says it could cost her district a lot of money if the Trainor kids, and their two younger siblings, move. She projects losing more than $220,000 in state aid and roughly $40,000 in real estate taxes.
 
"One of my biggest fears is the precedents that this is going to cause down the road," said Tripp.
 
Goreville Superintendent Steve Webb says his district proposed an intergovernmental agreement, paying Buncombe for the allowance of the annex.
 
"We've notified the parents that if the inter-governmental agreement does not take place, they must pay tuition for all of the days that they have been in session here, and any days going forward," he explained. "Or they'll need to remove their children."
 
Tripp insists, it's not about the money. "If we accept the intergovernmental agreement, we're basically saying that we think it's in the best interest of those children to be educated at Goreville instead of Buncombe," explained Tripp. "And I do not believe this to be true,' she added.
    
The appeal goes before a Johnson County judge on February 10th. The Trainors have the right to appeal that decision.
    
They could also pay tuition to send their kids to Goreville, move into that district, or have a full-time job in the district. Sarah Trainor was employed in the Goreville district until she left to have a baby.
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