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JAMESTOWN (WATE) - A proposed bill in the Tennessee Legislature would transition operation of the Alvin C. York Institute from the state to Fentress County.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Gerald McCormick in the House and Sen. Mark Norris in the state Senate, is currently working its way through subcommittees.
If passed, the Fentress County Board of Education would assume responsibility for the school and a nine-person board would be created to manage the transition.
Once in place, the board would provide recommendations on how the county will take over. The plan would then be subject to a public hearing.
Andrew York is the son of Sergeant Alvin C. York, founder of the York Institute.
"See, the state has supported that school all this time. I graduated from there, all those years ago, and there's between 675 and 700 students out there now," Andrew York explained.
Now there are bills in both the state House and state Senate to stop state funding and make it part of the Fentress County school system.
Cost is a big issue, but not the whole reason people oppose the school losing state status.
"What we're trying to do is just establish credibility with Sgt. York and make sure that people understand that that was a noble act on his part to fund the school the way that he did back in the 1920s, and that the state should continue to honor their promise to fund the school," said Fentress County School Board Member Philip Hall.
Andrew York says this isn't the first time changing the way York Institute is funded has come up before state legislature, and just like every other year, he hopes it doesn't go through.
"Well, I just hope they change their mind," York said.
On Wednesday, people in Fentress County plan to wear purple to support the York Institute and its state funding.
According to Fentress County Executive Frank Smith, the York Institute will be funded by the state through the end of the 2013-2014 school year.
The bill seeks to have the school turned over no later than the 2016-2017 school year.
The measure paving the way to transition from state to county control was delayed Tuesday in the House education subcommittee.
This isn't the first time the transition has been proposed.
In 2010, more than 90 employees were let go after a dispute between the state over how to fund the school.
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