JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – Hunger is a serious issue for as many as two out of every five children in the Campbell County school system, Director of Schools Jennifer Fields told the school board on Tuesday night. Teachers are constantly doing all they can to help their students, sometimes with surprising results, she said.  WATCH HERE.

Fields reported that several schools have now set up food banks to accept donations of canned goods and other food that can be distributed to needy families, while one Good Samaritan story about a teacher, Brooke Goins, help for a hungry child at Jacksboro Elementary School was posted to the internet and quickly went viral.

The results were both amazing and uplifting, as the school’s food pantry has been flooded with food donations from all over the country, along with the attention of national television and celebrities.

The story of the student and teacher, Fields pointed out, was mentioned on Good Morning America, hundreds of boxes of food have flooded into the school along with cash donations, while actress Jennifer Lopez has donated a year’s supply of nutritious meals to the child’s family.

“Our teachers are constantly doing for their students who are in need,” Fields pointed out, “and the need is great. As many as 2,000 students out of 5,000 in our school system go hungry.”

The Board of Education showed a bit of generosity of its own later in the meeting, voting unanimously to increase the amount paid to school bus owners by ten cents a mile.

Bus owners had appeared before the board at recent meetings to plead for a raise, pointing to the need to give drivers higher wages and the escalating costs of bus maintenance and insurance. As a result the board voted Tuesday to increase the per mile allocation from $1.78 to $1.88.  The total cost to the school system will be an additional $36,000 a year, Fields explained.

At the outset of the meeting, State Representative Dennis Powers presented certificates to principals from three schools for achieving status as Award Schools from the state Board of Education. Award schools are those that finish in the academic top five percent out of all schools in the state, Powers said. He recognized Jellico High School, Jacksboro Elementary School and Wynn-Habersham with a resolution from the House of Representatives.

Powers also invited two representatives from the Tennessee Board of Education to address the local board and explain the program, which Powers assured would have no negative effect on Campbell County schools.

Board members and  Fields expressed their doubts with one board member pointing out that eventually, the voucher program will open up taxpayer dollars to independent home schooling while there is inadequate control over whether all parents who apply are qualified to home school their children.

The board also approved all routine business, including a long list changes to board policies and a list of 17 teachers who were granted tenure.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/16/2019-6AM)