Macon County Director of Schools Tony Boles informed the Macon County Board of Education last week that the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Hartsville would be ending its partnership with Macon County after the 2021-2022 school year.

TCAT-Hartsville provides materials and instructors at the Tri-County Extension Campus in Red Boiling Springs, commonly referred to as the vocational school. The campus is utilized by both Macon County High School and Red Boiling Springs High School, as well as Jackson County High School.

Boles said that he received a letter from TCAT-Hartsville stating that they would “no longer administer the Tri-County Extension Campus.” Boles said the institution cited various reasons for ending the partnership.

“(It was) mostly budgetary and enrollment and the fact that a lot of our students … weren’t going on to TCAT-Hartsville in post-secondary (education),” Boles said.

Boles stated that he and Career and Technical Education (CTE) Supervisor Kathy Cothron were working to find a replacement for students going forward after the 2021-2022 school year.

“In Macon County, we cannot do without the programs that TCAT offers,” Boles said. “The training (the students) receive is necessary for them to enter the workforce here in Macon and surrounding counties.”

TCAT-Hartsville President Mae Wright said negotiations were ongoing with Macon County.

“As President of TCAT Hartsville, I must be fiscally responsible for all campuses and their long-term economic health. Unfortunately, over the past few years we have experienced a deficit in operation of the extension campus. Operational expenses have far outweighed our revenues. We do want to serve the secondary students interested in technical education and most importantly continue their studies on into post-secondary education. I have met with the Director of schools from both Macon and Jackson counties. We are looking at ways in which we can make this work without further compromising our overall budget,” Wright said in an email to The Vidette.

Boles said that he and Cothron, as well as representatives from Jackson County, would be meeting with TCAT-Hartsville, as well as TCAT-Livingston, prior to the next school board meeting.

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