Gov. Lee visits Carroll Academy

CARROLL Co., Tenn. — Gov. Bill Lee was greeted by a group of lawmakers and school administrators at Carroll Academy Tuesday morning.

Carroll Academy serves teens who have been tried in the juvenile court system. The academy was founded in 1994, Logan wanted an alternative to placing kids in state custody. Since then, it’s served over 4,000 teens.

The main focus of the visit was showing Lee what the school does for the community, and proving it’s worth the cost.

“They’ve shown good sportsmanship and good conduct, and we think 90 percent of them have gone on to productive lives, in our opinion,” said Carroll County General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Larry Logan.

“It’s obviously serving a purpose and a need that is very well served here,” Gov. Lee said.

The school’s budget was cut by 40 percent in 2008.

“So we went from $1,058,512 to $643,884. You lose students because, at the end of the day, you have to balance the budget. It has to be balanced,” Randy Hatch, the senior administrator at Carroll Academy, said.

Hatch says they are running out of time to keep their funding for the upcoming school year.

“The contract expires. I don’t know if they told you this, June 30 of 2020. If we don’t have a contract, we don’t have a school on July 1,” Hatch said.

Gov. Lee spoke with reporters after his tour, saying he will look at funding options and consider statewide action.

“It’s a great program, very interested in how it’s working, and how we might use this is a model to duplicate across the state,” Gov. Lee said.

Administrators at the school say it costs around $70,000 to place a child in state custody. The school spends around $1,000 per juvenile as an alternative.

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