Officially non-profit preservation committee


By Meg Dickens

The Shady Valley Elementary School Preservation Society received its final documents declaring the society an official non-profit organization in early September. The chain of events that sparked this began in June 2019 when a convened meeting of the Johnson County School Board questioned the future of Shady Valley Elementary School. The aim of this non-profit organization is to preserve the “school of rock” building and its rich history.

The Shady Valley Elementary School building is a treasured part of the Shady Valley community, and locals have fought tooth and nail to keep its doors open. During the struggle to keep its doors open to full capacity, the people of Shady and their allies gathered in droves. As the situation worsened from the potential loss of two years to the school’s permanent closure, public support grew even more. At one point, the Johnson County School Board had to move their meeting to the Heritage Hall Theater to accommodate the crowds, while several other people in the regular boardroom were standing only. The Shady Valley Cranberry Festival committee came together to form this 501C3 nonprofit during the chaos.

The final vote to close Shady Valley Elementary was emotional for Johnson County School Board members and Shady supporters. Members of the community go back several generations, with several mentioning that their ancestors helped build the rock school. Shady’s board members and defenders Gary Matheson and Kevin Long were outnumbered 3-2 in the final vote.

“The decision is not easy. I saw tears, ”said President Howard Carlton after the final decision. “I saw love in the classrooms. We understand this and we are not in a good position. But it is a decision that we have a responsibility to make.

Under the name of the Shady Valley Elementary School Preservation Society, officials made an offer for the school building and, for legal reasons, the organization bought the Johnson County Rock School for a dollar. . Fundraisers like the Cranberry Festival earn money for the upkeep of the building, and the nonprofit status means it is eligible for grants, gifts, and donations.

“This entity was created and designed to form an organization that can receive gifts, grants and / or large donations as required by the IRS,” said Company President Richard Price.

The first meeting of the Shady Valley Elementary School Preservation Society was held on September 17, and all future meetings will be held on the fourth Thursday of each month in the school building at 4 p.m. For more information, call 423-739-2422.

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