Feb 7 2013
10:20 pm

HB672/SB592 would amend the circumstances under which an LEA operating one or more charter schools must share its underutilized or vacant property with any charter school requesting occupancy in that property.

The bill would amend TCA 49-13-104 (11) to more specifically define what constitutes an "underutilized" property, establishing that it is "any building or facility that houses a school in which the total number of students enrolled is less than seventy percent (70%) of the school's enrollment capacity."

The bill would also amend TCA 49-13-136(c) to require that such an LEA must catalog annually a list of all underutilized or vacant properties, which list must be submitted to the Department of Education, the Comptroller of the Treasury, and the TN Charter School Association. It would require that all such underutilized or vacant properties be made available for charter schools' use, "to include a shared occupancy by charter schools."

Finally, the bill would require that any charter school applicant and LEA at odds over the charter school occupying the underutilized or vacant property must agree on one of three arbitrators to assist the parties in settling their differences, with costs to be borne by the unsuccessful party.

Here in Knox County, the recently expanded 2100-seat Karns High, presently serving 1236 students, is 59% occupied.

A new 750-seat Carter Elementary, which school now serves 506 students, is expected to be 67% occupied at its opening.

Both capital projects were poor decisions on the part of the Board of Education, of course, so they've no one to blame but themselves if students in these schools should soon be asked to scoot over.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Another Knox County school vulnerable to having to share its facility with a charter school is Christenberry Elementary, renovated some ten or so years back to serve 800 and serving as many as around 770 right after that renovation.

Christenberry now serves 475, so it's around 59% occupied, too.

My anecdotal info is that this circumstance arose not due to any error on the part of the BoE, but due to the high number of households in the school community to have opted for private schools in recent years?

Bbeanster's picture

I've long thought it odd that

I've long thought it odd that parents in 4th&Gill and Old North are zoned to Beaumont rather than Christenberry. Makes no sense, geography-wise.

Rachel's picture

I've noticed that too, Bean.

I've noticed that too, Bean. Seems weird.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Here's an interesting exercise:

The address for the Plaza Tower downtown is 800 Gay Street.

The address for poor ol' Maynard Elementary in Mechanicsville is 737 College Street.

Use Mapquest to get directions from each of these locations to Sequoyah Elementary, where the address is 942 Southgate Road, and you will determine that Plaza Tower and Maynard Elementary are each exactly 3.87 miles from Sequoyah.

Yet it is downtown that is zoned for Sequoyah?

Can you say "political pandering?"

Rachel's picture

Why on earth is Downtown

Why on earth is Downtown zoned for Sequoyah? Another head scratcher, errr, maybe not...

You know the answer, but for folks who don't - it's not exactly a secret that downtown was rezoned for Sequoyah in order to encourage folks with children to move there. It's ridiculous that it isn't zoned for Green, which you can SEE from downtown, but there you have it.

bizgrrl's picture

Maybe they should average out

Maybe they should average out the under utilized schools with the over utilized schools and schools with lots of "temporary" buildings. Therefore, a single school system should not be sharing occupancy with charter schools until the entire school system is evenly utilized. Doesn't seem fair to build a new school for a certain area and have it be under utilized but have a school in a different area that is falling apart with lots of "temporary" classrooms.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Ah, I'd forgotten about some of 4th & Gill and Old North being zoned for Beaumont. I'm thinking that decision came down after I moved out of the neighborhood?

Well, that circumstance wasn't any misjudgment on the part of the BoE as to capital spending, but given that the BoE sets zones, that Christenberry Elementary is just 59% occupied is still a circumstance of the BoE's own doing.

Was the rezoning undertaken to mask a lack of interest on the part of out-of-zone families in attending Beaumont, I wonder?

Like I said on that other thread, KCS has never, ever in the fifteen years I've had kids in the system promoted any of these elementary magnets...

Tamara Shepherd's picture


BTW, a plaque in the lobby at Maynard Elementary indicates it was built in 1898 (although the school system's records cite a construction date in the 1920s) and it has served as few as 104 students over the last decade.

A $300,000 review of facilities KCS commissioned around 2002-ish by that Houston firm (can't recall name, but used four-letter acronym starting with "M") recommended Maynard's consolidation and outlined cost savings to the school system in doing so.

Of course, that same review also recommended consolidation of several extremely old and tiny elementary schools in South Knoxville, too, including South Knox Elementary which has served as few as 90 students over the last decade.

As much as I hate this potential for charter schools to begin usurping the school system's traditional school facilities, I have to concede that past and present BoE members have failed miserably in allocating capital resources in a responsible and ethical manner.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Of course, at the other end of the white-guilt-or-lack-thereof spectrum, we have the single most underutilized school facility in Knox County, namely Austin-East High.

Effusively renovated to provide 267,394 square feet for just 557 students, A-E enrollees enjoy over 480 square feet per student.

A context in which to consider this volume of space is that Bearden High’s facility provides 251,576 square feet for 1872 students (134 sq ft per student) and Farragut High’s facility provides 216,864 square feet for 1637 students (132 sq ft per student).

You see, then, A-E’s vulnerability to receiving a charter school co-tenant given their square footage per student running over three times higher than that of some Knox County high schools.

You also see that the BoE's miscalculations and misjudgments concerning "equity" in facilities run in both directions.

(No links. Square footage data from 2006 PEFA study. Enrollment numbers from 2012 State Report Card.)

fischbobber's picture


So how come transfers from A E to Farragut are significant but there aren't any transfers from Farragut to A E ?

My point is this. This school system does not have the resources for both function and promotion. This is an anti-tax town. We have an undereducated voting populace that has difficulty thinking beyond their next paycheck. Why in the wide, wide world of sports would we waste time and money promoting ideas and programs that are already filled to capacity? The resources should be focused on the actual education of the children. If you build it, they will come.

Could it be that people in a good school district, like Powell, become complacent and territorial ? It happens out west, at Bearden and Farragut. Hear me now, believe me later, if you want to build a super school at A.E. focus on recruiting potential D-1 athletes. Develop these student athletes and you will build both a stronger community and a stronger school. Tailor the academic program to the needs of the student demographic and open up the school to the community schools concept. We're not talking rocket science here.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


So it isn't just to the Powell community that KCS has failed to promote its magnets?

Thought as much.

Up Goose Creek's picture

South Elementary

South Elementary is almost as close as Green. It used to be a magnet school in the 90s. I was told by a former student the magnet program got cancelled because there wasn't enough racial diversity.

In the 90's Island Home was zoned for South. Seems to be a lot of the same demographic as you see in Old North these days. What do you mean by "wracked with guilt" Metulj?. Is that supposed to be good or bad?

I get the impression a group of involved parents prefer a school small enough they have some influence. Is that something to feel guilty about? The key question is: do the lower income students benefit from having an economically integrated school?

Rachel's picture

In the 90's Island Home was

In the 90's Island Home was zoned for South.

Yup. And in what to me is was a strange move, it got rezoned for Dogwood.

A LOT of kids in IHP go to various private schools (although some go to public schools). We used to have folks move out when their kids reached school age (either west or to Maryville), but that doesn't happen too much anymore.

More IHP kids would go to public elementary if we were zoned for South (it's smaller and more of a neighborhood school - of course, some of us - NOT me - think these schools should go away because of economies of scale, but that's another subject entirely). There have been a couple of discussions about trying to get that rezoning, but as far as I can tell the SB isn't interested.

What do you mean by "wracked with guilt" Metulj?.

He means they assuage their liberal guilt by sending their kids to Beaumont magnet. Since his kids went to private schools when he lived in Knoxpatch, I'm not sure he should be sneering at other people's choices wrt schools.

Look, I don't have children, but I've wondered many times what I would do if I did. Would I be willing to send them to the public schools I was zoned for, even if those schools seemed underperforming (altho I think some of them at least are underperforming because of their student makeup, not because of the quality of the education offered)? Would I jump in and try to make those schools better?

Or would I send them to private school if I thought they'd get a better education? And just what is "education" anyway? Does it include learning how to be a part of a community bigger than just your own racial/socio/economic group?

Questions I've never had to answer personally, but I find it hard to criticize anybody who's dealt with them thoughtfully, no matter what their conclusion.

cwg's picture


There are apparently charter schools in Memphis and Nashville already doing this, so it's maybe not as big a deal as it seems ...

Min's picture

How is that going to work?

Is the charter school going to take advantage of all the facilities at the school, but not abide by the same laws and regulations as the Knox County personnel? What happens, if there's a conflict?

Tamara Shepherd's picture


My point is this. This school system does not have the resources for both function and promotion.

That is not your point.

Your point you made to me in a private e-mail asking me to stop discussing students' ability to transfer into West High's IB program because you were afraid if too many people knew they could, your son might not get in.

And you're posting on the wrong thread.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Rachel, I used Mapquest to determine that Dogwood Elementary is only 2.25 miles from your home.

It therefore appears that nearly half of familes zoned for Dogwood are so close to their zoned school they don't even get bus service (i.e., for elementary schools, living within one mile of the school).

I gotta say, I continue to be baffled by this distinctly "city" complaint?

Do you support (and would you pay for) splitting my community's elementary school into ten schools of 100 students each, so that we may all live a block or two from our elementary school, too???

As for me, I do support my tax dollars going to support the higher in-classroom costs often associated with properly providing for the needs of urban and/or at-risk students, but that generosity doesn't extend to supporting facilities costs as exhorbitant as so many urban stakeholders seem to think are acceptable.

For starters, I don't see the return on investments of this type, to this degree I mean?

And this school system has paid for one outside study after another that has advised as much.

That our elected officials have failed to heed that advice is the primary reason some of our schools are vulernable to charter school co-tenants now.

Rachel's picture

The complaint in IHP isn't

The complaint in IHP isn't that Dogwood is far away (although you might look at how far it is from here to South Doyle High, for which we are also zoned). It's that South is a smaller, more neighborhood type school and people with kids around here like it better. Or so they tell me.

Do you support (and would you pay for) splitting my community's elementary school into ten schools of 100 students each, so that we may all live a block or two from our elementary school, too???

The horror, the horror.

100 is an exaggeration, but yes I do support and would pay for smaller elementary schools. I think we really lost something important when we gave up neighborhood schools, and not primarily the distance from a residence to the school. That said, I understand about economies of scale and how it won't happen cause there's not enough folks like me willing to pay for it.

(And BTW, it's not a city/county thing with me. I felt the same way when I lived outside the city limits, which I did for 15 years. So don't put motivations in my mouth.)

Min's picture

Back in the dark ages...

...when I went to elementary school, I attended McCampbell Elementary School on Emoriland Blvd, which was my neighborhood school. It was a school of about 300 students, with two classes of each grade from grade 1 to grade 6. I walked to school every day from a lower middle class neighborhood situated under Sharp's Ridge. I received a wonderful education at McCampbell. I had music and art and, in the upper grades, a Spanish lesson every week. We attended plays over on UT's campus and had all kinds of other opportunities to experience the performing arts.

And the only standardized test we ever took was the California Achievement Test.

I would wish that kind of elementary educational opportunity for every public school student.

Rachel's picture

Exactly. I grew up in a small


I grew up in a small town with three elementary schools (many more out in the county). My school was the same size, with two classes per grade, grades 1 through 6. I also was able to walk to school starting in third grade (you had to cross a highway w/ no light so my parents wouldn't let me do it sooner).

The school was big enough to provide educational opportunities and small enough to be a community.

AnonymousOne's picture

It's all about the

It's all about the numbers.

Get the numbers so the Superintendent can deliver to the governor, so the governor can give a press conference, or so the governor can deliver to Arne or Obama for Rose Garden appearance and Race To the Top funds.

We don't care about the kids anymore, in education or DCS.

It's all about processing the numbers and using those to increase funding...for something.

Oh yeah, "for the children."

How could I have forgeotten?

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Min and Rachel and I all grew up in an era when kindergarten wasn't yet mandatory, preK hadn't been thought of, teachers didn't get a duty-free lunch, and the child poverty rate didn't neccessitate such disproportionate spending on classroom interventions.

For these reasons and a host of others, schools were cheaper to operate.

Since that time, the inefficiencies and inequities resulting from this locale's prior management of scarce capital dollars are indisputable, per details above, and have also had their dire impact on local monies available for operations.

We've now got to agree on how we can best allocate those scarce capital dollars to address these problems.

If we don't, the task is going to be taken out of our hands.

It's solutions time and I've offered several. Any proposals to augment--or contradict--mine?

bizgrrl's picture

I, too, grew up when when

I, too, grew up when when kindergarten wasn't yet mandatory.

the child poverty rate didn't neccessitate such disproportionate spending on classroom interventions.

I wonder about that, in South Knoxville anyway. I attended Mount Olive elementary school. At that time a lot of children were definitely below poverty level. It was probably a model as to why spending changed to help children living in poverty. Although, don't get me wrong, the teachers and administration seemed to be very willing to help those in need, when they could.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Actually, we don't have to wonder, Biz. The data's out there.

Free/Reduced Price Meals per the 2000 State Report Card:

Knox County 27.4%
Davidson County 50.6%

Free/Reduced Price Meals per the 2012 State Report Card:

Knox County 47.3%
Davidson County 72.4%

In just twelve years, that population has grown by nearly 20% in Knox County and by nearly 22% in Davidson County.

I shudder to think how much it's risen in 20 or 30 or 40 years...

bizgrrl's picture

Actually, it does not tell me

Actually, it does not tell me anything as to the poverty rate in South Knoxville 20 or 30 or 40 years ago, specifically the poverty rate in the area of Mount Olive elementary school.

I guess the poverty rate was pretty darn high when I was in elementary school.

US poverty on track to rise to highest since 1960s

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Actually, it does not tell me anything as to the poverty rate in South Knoxville 20 or 30 or 40 years ago, specifically the poverty rate in the area of Mount Olive elementary school.

Maybe so, Biz, but the difference is that today--especially since the advent of NCLB--we're allocating dollars to overlays for these students like magnet schools, Project GRAD schools, afterschool tutoring programs and summer interventions in a way we didn't 20 and 30 and 40 years ago.

Back then, the bulk of poor, struggling students just quit school--and we let them. Our improved grad rates tell the story.

This is what I meant when I suggested that our higher operations costs for expenditures like these have played a role in neccessitating our more frugal capital spending.

But really, the costs of operating urban school systems the way we used to was unsustainable even before school systems upped operations costs for these expenses post-NCLB.

There's a reason, prior-NCLB, that urban school systems all over the nation had begun consolidating with their suburban and rural neighbor systems and that reason is that their urban mode of operation was unsustainable.

Then and now, we just don't see suburban and rural school systems chomping at the bit to absorb the problems of their urban neighbors, to include their problem of tiny, decrepit school buildings on every street corner.

Victor Ashe made the only call he could to begin tapping suburban and rural tax dollars for the city's schools, or else those school communities would today be convening in tents.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I just cross-referenced the South City Sector Plan's info on school building capacity against each school's current enrollment numbers at the 2012 State Report Card to determine each school building's utilization rate, as follows:

So Knox Elem:
275 capacity/124 enrollment/45% utilized

Dogwood Elem:
800 capacity/672 enrollment/84% utilized

Mooreland Hgts Elem:
400 capacity/268 enrollment/67% utilized

Mt Olive Elem:
475 capacity/279 enrollment/59% utilized

So Doyle Middle:
1350 capacity/995 enrollment/73% utilized

So Doyle High:
1830 capacity/1066 enrollment/58% utilized

The South City Sector Plan does not include any stats on another South Knox school likely quite underutilized, namely Gap Creek Elementary serving only 97 students this school year.

Meanwhile, the so-called BEP Blue Book, which outlines how much state funding will be routed to what size school for what type of expense, makes clear that the state will neither support nor underwrite this level of gross inefficiency in operations.

Half the cost of South Knox Elementary's principal and a single school secretary is thrust down on the local funding body to cover. All the cost of Gap Creek Elementary's principal is thrust down on the local funding body to cover, along with half that school's cost for a single secretary. Or do these two schools employ more than one secretary each???

Just those costs generated by just those two schools and thrust down on the local funding body to cover might have instead funded IB programs at four or more additional high schools locally--to say nothing of additional costs associated with supplying just these two schools with unique custodial staff, unique cafeteria staff, and so on.

There is a strong argument to be made for small classroom sizes--particularly for at-risk students--and you'll see in the BEP Blue Book that the funding formula makes that kind of adjustment for that kind of student.

There is not, however, any argument to be made for demanding tiny school buildings serving 200 and 100 and even fewer students on every street corner, robbing the coffers of funding that might be directed to schools' more important classrooms.

I'm afraid that we'll now pay a heavy cost for having operated so inefficiently for so long.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Rachel, I didn't mean to pick on South Knoxville, only to share data on schools with which you might be famliar.

Other local schools serving fewer than 225 students (a "magic number" WRT nabbing state funding) include:

Corryton Elementary, 205
Maynard Elementary, 178
West View Elementary, 217

Also, WRT working down the size of our local elementary schools, I've advocated for several years looking into what Nashville did, namely focusing their scarce capital projects $$$ on making additions to their middle schools (because they and we have fewer middle schools than elementary schools), then gradually migrating their fifth grade classes into their middle schools.

At the end of a decade, they had renovated all their middle schools, whittled their elementary schools down to average sizes of just 400 to 600, and solved overcrowding in their more numerous elementary schools (without spending scarce capital projects $$$ on all those elementary schools to do it).

But every time I bring it up again, peoples' eyes glaze over...

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Hey, I can go for 300 a whole lot easier than I can go for 97 (Gap Creek Elementary) oe 124 (South Knox Elementary).

If that's to be our number, though, here are our next 25 elementary school construction projects:

1. A. L. Lotts Elementary, 1094

2. Brickey-McCloud Elementary, 951

3. Cedar Bluff Elementary, 1347 (4 new schools)

4. Farragut Intermediate, 1074

5. Farragut Primary, 1013

6. Hardin Valley Elementary, 1111

7. Karns Elementary, 1094

8. Powell Elementary, 939

But pardon me for interrupting your daydream with reality...

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Let me summarize that post by proposing a pact:

School communities outside the city limits need to wrap their heads around an urgent need to adopt inclusionary housing in Knox County. My own school community is about as "average" as it gets, but I'm on board and I'll work on my neighbors in other outlying communities.

School communities inside the city limits need to wrap their heads around an urgent need to convene in school facilities of average size. Former superintendent Lindsey was working toward a goal of elementary schools serving 600 to 900 each. Are you yet on board and will you work on your neighbors?

Because the only way we'll persevere, collectively, is to begin sharing equally in our economic burden to serve all students and to begin splitting our tax revenues more equally, too.

underthebusdem's picture

Im trying to figure out based

Im trying to figure out based on data exactly what it is that tamara shepard wants to emulate out of davidson county, and what the reasons are that tamara thinks that everywhere else is so much better. Her utopian posts on the glories of utc make me laugh. She's never posted one thing about UTC that demonstrated UTC being anything groundbreaking. Im sure she would be surprised to know the numbers of low performing students who use UTC as a backdoor entry to UTK. That's beside the point. Lets talk about the wonders of davidson county by the numbers: 2011-2012 performance by school district in grades 3 through 8

Math: Davidson county/knox county (percentages)
Below basic - 20.8/16.5
Basic- 39.9/31.4
Growth-6.5/4.5 (dont talk to me about how this category proves davidson county is so much better unless you include an entire discussion on how knox county overcomes diminishing returns at the highest end of the spectrum)

Reading: davidson/knox
Below basic- 14.6/10.3
Basic- 44.8/32.7
Proficient 31.4/40.3
Prof or adv-40.6/57.0
Growth- 3.0/1.9

Science: davidson/knox:
Below basic- 23.3/14.4
Prof or advanced-44.9/64.8

Knox county has decent schools. Individual schools within specific communities may need assistance but that does not mean the whole system is failing. Certainly knox county is performing well beyond the performance of the very system tamara shepard wants to copy. I would encourage some people not to get so caught up in viewing other parts of the state through rose colored glasses.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Lets talk about the wonders of davidson county by the numbers: 2011-2012 performance by school district in grades 3 through 8.

No wonder you're confused, Bus. You misunderstood the topic of the conversation.

The topic is how to better manage our capital projects $$$ to result in smaller elementary schools (which Davidson has), better utilized buildings (which Davidson has), and more $$$ available for operations (which Davidson has).*

Most of those assertions may be confirmed at the very State Report Cards you viewed.

Given that Davidson's population of impoverished students does and has run around 25% higher than ours for years, can you imagine how much wider the achievement gap would be between we and they, had they not managed their resources so well?

I think we'd better pay attention to what they've done right, or you won't be laughing for long.

(* I looked at facility utilization rates among Davidson schools for a column I did for the Focus a few years back. Can't recall how/where I dug up those numbers...)

Up Goose Creek's picture

Economic integration

My point is that if the middle class and UMC kids from Island home were zoned to South, then the UMC and UC parents downtown might feel more comfortable sending their kids there. That could encourage families to live in the waterfront area and voila, the school isn't underutilized.

It's not entirely about race, I didn't expect downtown kids to be zoned to West View, either.

P.S. If you cared so much about economic integration, Tamara, why did you not move your family to a more working class neighborhood? My image of Powell is predominately middle class.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Goose, I'm not catching what these acronyms UMC and UC stand for?

In any event, you can confirm with Doug Dillingham that KCS hasn't opened any new elementary school with capacity to serve fewer than 800 in more than twenty years. They can't afford to. Which is why we won't see any effort on their part to repopulate South Knox Elementary to serve less than half that number.

As to why I live in Powell, both my family (and extended family) and my husband's family (and extended family) have lived here for eons. My husband, in particular, probably has 50 plus aunts, uncles, and cousins within a three mile radius of our front door!

Also, at the time we moved here, it was in part due to the fact that both our widowed mothers lived within a couple of miles. My late mother, you'll recall, I had to bathe, diaper, dress, and feed for several years.

The kids are third generation "Powell" on my side, fourth generation "Powell" on his side.

And the acreage we live on was made available to us for free.

But don't depend on "images" of communities to draw your conclusions, Goose: Look at data.

I continue to battle a mistaken perception among folks who don't live in Powell that the community is "rich."

If you'll take a look at our community's elementary school data, though, you'll see that our Economically Disadvantaged population actually runs higher than the Knox County average.

This was an argument I tried to make (unsuccessfully) back in 2007, when the school board was offering our high school "help" in becoming more economically diverse via a massive rezoning.

What the stats say, then and now, is that our high school didn't need any such "help." Those kids were in the pipeline already.

(Explanatory note: Right now, Powell High's Economically Disadvantaged population continues to run three percentage points lower than the county average due to the high volume of kids originally rezoned elsewhere, but ultimately grandfathered to attend Powell. We'll see the new face of Powell High, after grandfathering has expired, in the 2014-2015 school year, when that ED rate should match the county average. Of course, by the time that elementary population lands at Powell High, the ED rate should exceed the county average. Thanks so much for that, Knox County Board of Education...)

underthebusdem's picture

pot vs. kettle

Interesting. Be careful in the future about assumptions you make regarding the residents of shelby county.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Can you please temper your pissy tone and just say what you mean?

What assumption, where?

Up Goose Creek's picture

Poverty stats

Mount Olive includes the kids in the county portion of Vestal. But it also includes kids from Lakemoor hills. Any recent reports about its educational achievement.

Boy it is sobering to see the rise in reduced lunches in 2102. That is a sobering reflection on our economy. Especially in two counties that have relatively healthy economies.

bizgrrl's picture

I have my doubts that there

I have my doubts that there are many kids in Lakemoor Hills.

Up Goose Creek's picture


Thanks Tamara. I knew Powell wasn't exclusively MC or UMC (middle class or upper middle class) but wasn't aware of the ratios.

But I'm still confused. Does the economically disadvanted ratio include students who are bussed in or do they all live in the Powell community?

I, personally, never thought Powell had a notable amount of rich residents. Do you hear that a lot?

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Not sure which of the three Powell schools we're talking about, Goose, but...

My understanding is that Powell Elementary and Powell Middle have gotten only a few NCLB transfers (those kids the school system brings in daily on vans and in cars) and neither has either of those two schools been impacted by any rezoning in recent years.

Their two demographics, then, are pretty much reflective of their in-zone students. Some of those students live in higher-end subdivisions, of course, but many live in Powell's still-rural areas.

Powell also has many, many trailer parks--especially on Clinton Highway--and our Woodland Meadows Park (formerly Green Acres) I believe is the largest in Knox County.

We also have two Clinton Highway motels renting rooms (and RVs) by the week, namely the Clark Motel and the Morris Motel.

A total of three Section 8 housing developments are zoned for one to three of our Powell schools, variously, these being the Kensington Place, Belle Meade, and Cassell Ridge developments.

As to our high school's somewhat lower percentage of Economically Disadvantaged students, Russ Oaks tells me that most every high school is a bit stronger than its feeder schools at the elementary and middle levels, in part due to those older students being able to hold part-time jobs and in that way help boost their families' incomes.

Like I said, though, Powell High's somewhat stronger ED percentage, relative to its feeder schools, is presently skewed for the better due to the presence there of "grandfathered" students, namely those rezoned but allowed to attend Powell High only because they were in sixth grade or higher at the time of the rezoning AND had older siblings who attended there. This exception was granted to families like mine, who would otherwise had been required to pick up at 3:30 two or more kids attending schools in communities miles apart (in my case, at Powell Middle and at Karns High, nearly eight miles apart).

So we'll see Powell High's ED population jump in 2014-15, when the last of presumably wealthier "grandfathered" students are flushed from the school, and again over the few years to follow that one, as that elementary school population in which the ED rate already exceeds the county average then lands in high school.

And yes, I do hear often from people outside the community that they harbor a perception we're "rich." It has been especially troubling to hear it from school board members.

However, with regard to our ED rate and with regard to most every other indicator--TCAP scores, ACT scores, etc.--Powell is about as "average" as they come.

I do hope folks will look us up on the State Report Card to confirm it.

(This for the benefit of Underthebus: I recognize and accept the moral responsibility that my community and everybody else's must help carry the burden of ED students, who are presumed to be most at-risk. You see, then, that my objection to this rezoning was that it appeared likely to cause my community to carry more than its fair share. And it still appears that way, six years later. Then and now, I've found it a difficult objection to effectively communicate in fewer than 500 words. Was this sentiment the one that caused you to advise me against making "assumptions" about Shelby County? If so, the shoe doesn't fit.)

underthebusdem's picture

Im suggesting that when it

Im suggesting that when it comes right down to it, you dont want more of the "them" in powell high school than is absolutely necessary. Btw, unlike halls high, powell is a wonderful high school.

Min's picture


What's wrong with Halls?

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I'm suggesting that when it comes right down to it, you dont want more of the "them" in powell high school than is absolutely necessary.

Yeees, that's right.

I don't want any more poverty in my community than is necessary to shoulder our load, I don't want any more in your community than is necessary to shoulder your load, and all of us everywhere need to do what we can to reduce the level of poverty anywhere.

Now go away and stew on that for a bit and come back when you feel ready to join the team.

lonnie's picture

I know I am a little off

I know I am a little off topic here but I just had to comment with a few thoughts. My kids attended Powell schools and I pretty much agree with you on your characterization of the typical background of students that attend Powell schools. The school system needs to do a better job leveling the playing field and sharing the school system's resources. I lived on Reed Street in the middle of Western Heights projects (the day care is now in the apartment where I lived) when I attended Beaumont Elementary in 1967-69. I always thought it was so stupid to house thousands of poverty stricken families together in one community. It sure was not beneficial to me to live in the middle of the projects. Of course, the reason Farragut and Bearden and West Valley and many schools perform much higher than the poor side of town is they are supported by better resources. Affluent families have a lot more resources to help their children and they have less single parent homes. They don't love their kids any more or less. They have more education to help their children succeed. They can afford to provide food, and clothing, and tutors and prep classes for ACT or SAT etc. They have some great teachers and parents at the affluent schools, but Beaumont and West View and Fulton and AE have some great teachers and parents too. If the entire staff at Farragut or Bearden transferred to AE or Fulton, there would not be much difference in test scores. We do need to share the burden. Me and everyone else in Tennessee that is able should be paying more taxes to educate the kids in TN and Knox County. I pay taxes to support a lot of activities and programs and corporations that I receive little or no benefit for funding. We all benefit from our kids and community being educated. Knox County Schools take up over 62% of the county's budget. One positive step would be to give our elected school board taxing power to fund our schools.The number one reason for businesses locating in a community is the education level of that community. Education leads to a broader tax base in communities and lower taxes in the long run for everybody.

and more...
Also, using resources sensibly should be a goal. Having a school with 100 students might not be too economically sound but having schools that have very high numbers are not the best situation either. Ideally elementary schools should be in the 500-600 range. I know 250-300 is probably too low but my kids sure did well at Sterchi Elementary years ago. Nancy Maland, the principal at that time, knew every student by name and she was great! Having a thousand or more in elementary school is not good. Middle schools should not have more than 800. The high school ideal should be about 1000.
Sorry for rambling. :)

Tamara Shepherd's picture

More ???

Bus, I don't know if you're not a parent or not a property owner or just not a grown-up, but that last petulant comment of yours still has me scratching my head...

I know Rachel and Biz and Goose understand my concern, though. Their own current or former homeplace in South Knoxville has already passed this tipping point when the hopelessness of poverty came to affect the majority in the neighborhoods they loved and they have many times lamented it on this blog. It's a heartbreaking thing to stand back and watch.

My suggestion is that we shouldn't.

What I'm saying is that as "urban poverty" begins its creep into the suburbs, we all need to understand that this shouldn't remain any problem we can "buy" our way out of by searching out homes (and schools) still disengaged from solving--or even recognizing--the problem.

This is the exact same message of assimilation inherent in the "scattered site" approach of the TYP to End Chronic Homelessness, by the way.

The BoE had it half-right (or less) in their 2007 systemwide rezoning of high schools, except that their approach hit some communities harder than others, it failed to affect some communities at all (Halls to the north and Farragut to the west, for instance), it imposed school commutes of up to 15 miles on others, and it still failed to affect where poor folks could actually live.

We also see in this thread that the BoE has nevertheless pandered to 4th & Gill and Old North in zone lines drawn for their community and pandered to downtown residents in zone lines drawn for them. The BoE is at a loss as to how to grow its original magnet schools, even as some parents want to keep low-key the magnet opps in other school communities that are relatively wealthier. And we have far to many half-empty urban school facilities, even as we contend with over 10,000 suburban elementary school students crammed into just eight buildings.

This whoooole clusterfuck is rooted in our inability to affect among every school community any sense of their obligation to serve their fair share of low-income students.

You're new around here, but I personally have a six-year history on this blog of asserting that we can't really affect that sense of obligation owed our students via any more bussing plans.

My position of record is and has been that we have to address an inequitable distribution of affordable housing in Knox County.

That's how we put the brakes on the poverty creeping into the suburbs and that's how we invite this assimilation of low-income households I suggest is still, just barely, possible in the waning days before the poor become the majority in Knox County.

And if you think that hasn't been a tough sell to my suburban neighbors in higher-end subdivisions, you're sadly mistaken.

underthebusdem's picture

Tamara, your comments show

Tamara, your comments show your true self. Thank you. May i remind you in your self-righteous mentality that everyone, regardless of holding a mortgage or paying rent, regardless of having children or not do contribute to the educational system. 2) everyone is concerned about neighborhood safety and maintaining their communities, even those who may live in working class suburbs of the cities of tennessee.

underthebusdem's picture

As urban poverty creeps into

As urban poverty creeps into neighborhoods, for many people their options are little to none. Not all suburbs have half million dollar homes. Some suburbs in this state have been present for more than 40 years. In those suburbs, the property tax office values the homes around 120,00 but since 08 the homes have been selling as is for around 30,000. Those suburbs will be vulnerable to a vast and complete change of demographics, especially in a changing school system as in shelby county. Despite the fact that there was more funding per pupil in memphis city schools, those in the city watched as buildings and infrastructure crumbled around them. they want their kids in the schools outside the city limits of memphis. They fail to understand the connection between lack of education, poverty, lack of respect for education, and the performance of students. Older suburbs where firemen, teachers, and public service employees and blue collar workers live are part of the shelby county system. The poverty line is less than 5 miles away. Those people have bought their homes and as ive previously said they are facing a complete degrading of their communities as property has gotten cheaper and will become readily available by the upwardly mobile who absolutely will take off running leaving the older generation to decide selling their homes and down sizing or staying and praying things dont get worse, but knowing that they will. You cant force people to stay some place they dont to. Your summation a few days ago about the situation in shelby county was an over simplistic self-righteous and lack of understanding about the complexities of the issue in shelby county specifically and your posts here prove you expect a certain integration in every school of a certain quota of lower socio-economic students. I cant help but point out both your lack of understanding and hypocrisy in your beliefs about having your fair share and only your fair share in powell.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Are you referring to this thread, Bus, in which I linked Tom Humphrey's report that Rep. Curry Todd attended a meeting closed to media, then emerged to announce that attendees may try to enact legislation to allow school districts statewide to create independent school districts for the purpose of dodging consolidations like the one pending between Memphis and Shelby County?

If your suggestion is that Todd's fix is any viable solution to the problems Shelby County faces as it stares down the barrel of that consolidation (or that Knox County faces as it stands poised to sink into majority poverty and turn over its school facilities to charters)'s no small wonder you're a Dem "under the bus."

All in the world I've said, continue to say, and won't stop saying is that it's high time we un-pen the poor from our decaying central cities and provide them affordable housing wherever the heck it is they prefer to live in their respective counties.

The sooner we do it, the sooner we equalize housing opportunity and educational opportunity, both--in a lasting manner.

We also equalize educational spending among communities this way.

We also eliminate the dangers of plunging property values affecting some communities more heavily than others this way (which I see is one concern you voice, yourself).

It's a fair and equitable proposal and I've explained pretty fully, I think, the positive results it can affect.

Meanwhile, I still have no idea what it is you're proposing. As nearly as I can tell, you aren't proposing anything.

underthebusdem's picture

That some people after

That some people after raising children, working as a public employee for 30 years, and maintaining the same household in the same neighborhood at what is now considered moderate housing, for 34 years, cant afford to move out to the ring of new upwardly mobile households in fayette county and cant sit and wait for an old neighborhood to crumble around them as the people finding cheap housing in the "suburbs" seek for better education to eventually find the exact same neighborhood they left because the same people move 5 miles over. Those are the reasons im supporting my community in having its own school district. Creating the largest school merger in the history of the united states of america does not fix the problems of the inner city (which is now just on the other side of the line, 5 miles away). All that will happen is that those who can leave will leave. Fayette county has in 25 years gone from one of the poorest counties in the country and lowest performing school districts in the state to one of the top school districts. Again, you cant make people send their kids to school with black kids if they dont want their kids to go to school with black kids or poor kids. If they want to move and can move, they will and those who have stayed all this time will be left vulnerable to the wave of people who get cheap housing or rental housin, crumbling infrastructure, declining schools, increased crime and a complete downgrade of the community.

Rachel's picture

Tamara's right about

Tamara's right about affordable housing and how spreading it throughout the community would improve schools (among other things).

That said, the implementation is extremely difficult and I don't look for it to happen around here any time soon. Heck, you can't even get CITY neighborhoods (much less subdivisions out in the county) zoned R-1 (single family housing) to accept an R-1A zone (which allows duplexes) next door to them w/o a huge fight. And don't you dare try to implement mixed use zones close to existing neighborhoods.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


That said, the implementation is extremely difficult and I don't look for it to happen around here any time soon.

Yes, it's extremely hard to implement and, like I've conceded before, it takes a virtual coup to land officeholders on deliberative bodies who are willing to enact inclusionary housing ordinances.

But as the county approaches majority poverty, we have little time left in which we might try to beat it back via this tool of assimilation.

And the TN Charter School Association is poised to take over our half-empty urban school facilities.

Expect me to just get louder and more shrill, I guess...

Tamara Shepherd's picture


...cant afford to move out to the ring of new upwardly mobile households in fayette county...fix the problems of the inner city...those who can leave will leave...Fayette county has in 25 years gone from one of the poorest counties in the country and lowest performing school districts in the state to one of the top school districts... you cant make people send their kids to school with black kids if they dont want their kids to go to school with black kids or poor kids...

For Gawd's sake, Bus, I'm on your side!

It shouldn't be that some people can afford to move out to this "ring of new upwardly mobile households in Fayette County," nor should it be that this favored ring even exists.

It shouldn't be that the problems of the inner city are theirs alone to fix.

It shouldn't be that some can leave, while others can't.

It shouldn't be that Fayette County has emerged as an academic star solely because lesser academic performers among the poor have been priced out of their neighborhood.

But we CAN make people send their kids to school with black kids and poor kids and we CAN make them live next door to them, too, in a manner that causes all school communities to absorb their fair share of these students often costilier to educate and in a manner that allows anybody to live wherever they choose.

We do it by enacting laws, inclusionary housing ordinances to be exact, that demand every neighborhood accommodate its fair share of the poor and that at the same time enable every poor family, whether they're urban or suburban now, to live where they damned well please.

Bus, these are the very choices you need and you deserve that you say are not available to you.

I'm your ally, you big knucklehead.

underthebusdem's picture

I also cant imagine what the

I also cant imagine what the property ownership comment had to do with anything. You surely realize in this economy that there are a lot of people, even those with degrees, even those who had parents who owned property, that are renting. Surely you know that the economic situation, skyrocketing cost of higher ed with student loans, cost of weddings, cost of houses, cost of cars and the need to be mobile in this economy and available to move for a current position or a new position often without moving expenses is a priority for many people. Your remark about property ownership in the middle of this discussion about low income housing is most telling. In the end, i maintain that you are extremely opinionated about what everyone else should do, but you wouldnt want low income renters within 10 miles of you. You cant grasp the true economic reality of today and the future. You cant imagine that a college educated person may only get property left to them that is in a suburb that is over 40 years old, today. Thank goodness the majoity of powell residents and students aren't like you. I have a very high opinion of powell after both working in powell high school and the powell community. Im sure glad i had those experiences and met some wonderful people in powell long before i ever met you.

underthebusdem's picture

Well tamara the situation i

Well tamara the situation i described about the old suburb is about a parent and the situation i describe about rental property is me. I dont make those statements out of economic concern for my share after said parent passes, but i make them out of deep concern for their safety and sense of the place they called home for nearly 35 years, especially when i live more than 6 hours away. My greatest fear is returning home one day to find all the houses rented and the "inner city" which is only about 5 miles away has found itself in my childhood neighborhood, or worse the crime of the inner city on the other side of that line finds its way inside my childhood home and to my parent. The belief is that the inner city has gotten screwed and the suburbs have gotten everything on the back of the city. Just as communities around other parts of the city that have been annexed have degraded in almost no time, so will go my childhood neighboehood with my parent still living there. Again, the problems of the poor black inner city population is not ameliorated by this school merger because those who can will leave as quickly as possible. City blight could become county blight too. In regards to my lack of holding a mortgage, With an immense student loan, even in income based repayment, it is still a debt which precludes me from being the esteemed class of mortgage holder. Additionally, in the early portion of my career, i like many of my colleagues, must be prepared to be mobile in this job market. Furthermore the need for an upgrade in my 12 year old automobile will soon be an issue for which i must address. Anyone renting in a community who is working, paying local taxes, and has a car registered does not mean they are any less vested in a community. In regards to housing regulations, people always have the right to buy upward or outward and those who are there first want to protect the place they moved to from outsiders unlike themselves.

In terms of fayette county, it was largely a poor rural ag county. The improvement in educational standards is a result of a drastic and rapid influx of upwardly mobile people who decided to move beyond the suburbs of their parents. Many of my more affluent classmates who came from economically better off families than me live there today.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


You really, really need to re-read my posts.

I have low income renters across the street from me-a family of eleven. I also have a Section 8 housing complex a mile down my street. My community's elementary school already exceeds the county average as to poverty and my community's other two schools soon will, too.

What I said is that I am attuned to the importance of retaining one's property values (as you have said your are, too), but that I also understand and accept a moral imperative to put the needs of the less fortunate ahead of my own self-interest.

I have advocated for every community carrying its fair share of this load (that you would instead dodge via creating a special school district in your community), even as I have expressed my understanding that no community should be asked to carry more than its fair share.

I have proposed that we create an equitable solution to our shared problem by enacting local legislation, here and in Shelby too, to ensure that all communities participate in accommodating housing for the poor and all poor famiies get to choose where it is they'd like to live.

Maybe you just need to Google "inclusionary housing ordinances," because you're not grasping the concept. And you're unneccessarily angry.

(I've gotta turn in. Will check in tomorrow.)

underthebusdem's picture

You have to kidding me. Im

You have to kidding me. Im very aware of the concept of mixed housing communities. I dont need to google anything, thank you very much. Im not under some utopian idealistic notion that such ordinances would pass in this particular suburb. Meanwhile, im very aware of the outcome of unincorporated communities that have gone through annexation in memphis. If you think that somehow a neighborhood that already has rental property and a suburb with apartments doesnt have opportunities for working people, even blue collar working people to live there isnt a mixed income housing, you're very much mistaken. If you think such a place, a mere miles from the expanding inner city, isnt vulnerable to the destabilizing destruction of becoming only lower income inner city neighborhood, you couldnt be more off base. This has always been my priblem with you tamara. You spout off ideals that can never get passed, you look down your nose at your own communities, at the very flagship institution that is a research institution, you look down your nose at people across the state, you still have your 7 plus acres of property in powell appraised at nearly 200,000, you are willing for powell to have just a marginal portion of poor kids to say, yeah we carry our load like those kids are your societal burden, and you cant grasp complex issues beyond the nose on your face. The only new low income housing ive seen built is housing for vouchers like whats on sutherland or lonesdale. You better believe in knoxville they zoned downtown for west rather than closer schools, for the same reasons people will flock out of shelby county, they would not move to downtown unless it was with a better school. Do you even understand what IB really is? Its a little prep academy within a public school. Do you think maryville will pass such ordinances to open up high performing maryville high school, and then even if they did pass them do you think any builder is going to be real darn eager to build a bunch of low income housing without some public tax dollars flowing his way? How DARE you sit on your 7 acres of powell land and look down your nose at me. This is a real situation and you bet your bottom dollar every opportunity my family, even while working in the city, has had to vote for a special school district, they have voted FOR IT. Until YOU, MS TAMARA SHEPARD, drive through or god forbid go to work in these inner city neighborhoods, you dont have a right on this planet to decry anyone for voting just to protect their home and quarter of an acre from the ghetto. Not black people ms tamara, because black and brown people live in my childhood neighborhood, but not ghetto. The ghetto is knocking and it will be a damn disaster if it comes rolling in. No damn housing ordinance is going to change that tamara 7 acres in powell shepard.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


With an immense student loan, even in income based repayment, it is still a debt which precludes me from being the esteemed class of mortgage holder. Additionally, in the early portion of my career, i like many of my colleagues, must be prepared to be mobile in this job market. Furthermore the need for an upgrade in my 12 year old automobile will soon be an issue for which i must address. Anyone renting in a community who is working, paying local taxes, and has a car registered does not mean they are any less vested in a community.

I'm glad I hung around a minute, Bus. I understand all these things.

I paid my own way through college, too (over the course of far too many years), and graduated owing loans.

While still single, I bought my first home, a condo, for a scant $48K and drove a $300 car at the time.

I meant no insult earlier to anyone not a homeowner--or "mortgageholder" as you more aptly put it-- but intended only to point out that people trying to pay off their homes understandably want to ensure that their property values hold steady as they work on that. It's the primary source of most folks' wealth, after all, and it seemed you had sneered at anyone harboring that consideration.

I do hope you'll read up on the topic of inclusionary housing ordinances, though. They're a device that can help people in Shelby County like your parents to shield their homes from this phenomenon of creeping urban decay, even as they regulate the fair and equitable availabilty of affordable housing to all, your parents and the residents of Memphis, alike.

And they're a much more progressive solution to the problems faced by Shelby and Knox counties than would be the creation of umpteen special school districts intent on circumventing, rather than addressing, these problems.

('Night, again.)

underthebusdem's picture

Congratulations youve just

Congratulations youve just done it all havent you baby. I have a full time position and i drive several hundred miles a month for my job and couldnt possibly rely on a 300 dollar car. I bought my first car 12 years ago with the little bit of money from the death of another parent. I f i was just looking to buy a 300 dollar piece of junk, i could do that tomorrow. I wasnt looking to make a downgrade from my 02 car. Thanks again for proving you have NO CLUE!

underthebusdem's picture

I had a friend with a condo

I had a friend with a condo in the 80,000 range (you know small condo, like that nice little starter house). She lived in north carolina, ended up having to move to ohio, rented it out for a year while it promptly got trashed and she ultimately had to evict the tennant. She couldnt sell it and ended up walking away. This aint 1960 or 1970 something tamara. Your over simplistic answers to everything are downrightdisgusting. That 300 dollar car probably cost 5000 today. That little condo, you wouldnt even qualify for the loan after the 08 crash and even then why would you want to saddle yourself with that kind of liability when the average worker is moving within 2 years of beginning a job in their field and thats after a long search. You're out of it tamara. You only offer lip service to problems, you nave no clue about the struggle of the 20 and 30 somethings, you dont even have a realistic grasp on what things cost and how your lifestyle is out of reach for those who are in that first quarter to third of their adult lives. Why i even give you the time of day is a real question to ponder except this thread of yours just illustrates your hypocrisy and its damn time you knew there were real people who are living lives dealing in their own real life every day with issues ylu pontificate about from your 7 acres. I challenge you to put the coalition together to open up maryville hs, yeah that hs in that special school district in blount county, nodifferent than what i want for my childhood city. You go put that coalition together and you get housing just for the poorest people of knoxville next door to maryville high school, without any tax dollars going to that project, then you come back and talk to me about inclusionary housing. By the way, if you need me to take you and introduce you to the folks im talking about i'll be happy to. I worked with their kids in a well known non profit. It doesnt mean id want to live next door to them or want that neighborhood in the middle of my sole survivng parent's neighborhood.

underthebusdem's picture

Talking about cars, the car

Talking about cars, the car that i bought in 03 was a pre-owned rental for less than 10,000 and still in manufacturer's warranty. Between my job, savings, and a little help from the death of a parent, i was able to purchase that car to replace the car that i was driving that had a dead transmission after 200,00 miles and 13 years of life. Today, a similar car almost doesnt exist. You cant find a preowned/used car in manufacturer's warranty. They're almost all around 40 to 60,000 miles. Today a one year old car with one owner and 50,000 miles and is a domestic sedan with a 6 cylinder is running 20,000 or more. I cant afford those payments. So im not even where i was economically 10 years ago, tamara. So just shut up about your utopian life and your condo and your little 300 dollar car. Im looking at now buyinga car that is not as good as the car i bought 10 years ago. Again, you havent got a clue, honey. So dont tell me how me or my family is wrong for wanting a little protection against further decline. Im making now what my sole surviving parent was making in 1996. I could not afford to make mortgage payments on the house my sole survivng parent was paying for in 96. Again, you just dont have clue.

redmondkr's picture

My doctor took me off

My doctor took me off caffeine four years ago and it has done a world of good. You may want to consider something similar.

Up Goose Creek's picture


Biz- I see a lot of large houses being built off Maloney - look like family style homes. I understand the demographics of Lakemoor hills tends towards retired people at this time. I predict that when Cherokee farm gets occupied you will see a lot of younger families replacing the aging households. That's why I'm interested in reports form Mount Olive - you have a real life example of economic integration.

Tamara - when have I lamented about the hopelessness of my neighborhood? I get upset that others see us as hopeless and want to destroy us but we've got it pretty good here. One reason is I've got some really good neighbors that keep an eye on things. It helps that it doesn't take 2 incomes to pay the mortgage (if there is a mortgage at all).

But I've been thinking about subsidized housing - there are 2 on my block. One is occupied by a middle aged disabled woman - no problems. The other was occupied by a younger woman and when her boyfriend was bragging about his burglary abilities a neighbor told him in no uncertain terms what would happen if anything went missing. Would the typical suburbanite be that bold or would they pack up for the next county?

bizgrrl's picture

I'm guessing if there are

I'm guessing if there are children living in the big new houses along Maloney they attend some sort of private school. I checked out the Knox County Schools bus routes for the neighborhood. There are a lot less bus stops than when I lived in the neighborhood. Could be a cost cutting thing versus less children. Yes, it will change as the retirees move out. I think a lot of the economic integration comes from Arrowhead, Martha Washington, etc. I could easily be wrong.

One reason is I've got some really good neighbors that keep an eye on things. It helps that it doesn't take 2 incomes to pay the mortgage (if there is a mortgage at all).

Good neighbors are critical. We do have some stories to tell about our neighbors in SoKno. The only time we had something stolen was when we lived in the Island Home neighborhood. Nary a thing went missing when we lived in the South Haven area. Neighbors.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I seem to have a propensity on this thread to make comments that are less-than-clear, Goose, but I intended no offense.

Your own dependable neighbors notwithstanding, I'll have to respectfully disagree that that 87% Economically Disadvantaged population at Dogwood Elementary, for instance, gives us reason for optimism about your community's future.

Neither is that any dig, you understand, since I've pointed out on this thread that my own community is also slipping into majority poverty.

Like you, I am also acquainted with several fine neighbors falling in that category, but realistically we know that poverty is often the common denominator in a host of other societal problems.

I hope neither of us has to contend with them on our respective blocks and that we can soon unite to beat back this indicator, poverty, that is known to invite the problems--and that is also recently known to invite charter schools to co-locate in our school facilities!

(Out for a bit. Will check in later.)

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Forgive this somewhat off-topic post, on-lookers, but I can’t write her privately and I’m intent on establishing better understanding between us…

I don’t know that I’ve “done it all,” Bus, but I’m 55 years old and it sounds like I’ve had considerably more time to do considerably more stuff than you’ve yet been able to do. Your time is ahead, though.

You seem unwilling to consider my ideas until I somehow establish with you my proletarian creds. I hesitate to bow to that demand because we are a varied bunch as to income and wealth here at KV and we don’t ordinarily allow details like that to create static in our conversation. I’ll share just some such personal info, though—only to sooth your anger—and for the rest you’ll have to encourage me to write my autobiography in full.

In my youth, this old bird did, indeed, once live a couple of months in a motel room I rented by the week. I also lived a couple of months through the winter in a trailer that lacked electricity, so I slept on the kitchen floor, next to the gas range which I kept turned on with the oven door open overnight. In Fort Sanders, I shared a two-bedroom house with five other people, where I slept on a box springs on the dining room floor and hung the totality of my wardrobe on an over-the-door hook for lack of a closet. I had no car at all through those years, so in all those places I biked to the grocery store and pushed my dirty laundry to the neighborhood laundromat in a stolen grocery buggy. All those homes were here in Knoxville.

I later lived in East Los Angeles, just three doors up from Hollywood Boulevard, where the Guardian Angels marched back and forth along my front sidewalk evenings. There was frequent gunfire there and the sirens wailed all night. Through those years, I twice awoke to find my tiny front lawn roped off with yellow “do not cross” tape, a corpse lying in its midst. By that time, I was driving a $100 car I had purchased with quarters, but it soon broke down and I couldn’t afford to repair it. In the meantime,, my old beau’s car, a Renault Le Car lacking interior carpet, twice saw its windows bashed out and its dashboard sliced to smithereens in successive efforts to steal its sound system, which someone did. Ultimately, we lost that car, too, when a drunk sleeping in our detached carport set it afire and destroyed all three cars parked there. Unfortunately, he carried only liability insurance, so we were walking and taking the bus again for another full year.

I next moved back to Knoxville and couldn’t find any full-time work in my field for nearly a year. I therefore juggled three part-time jobs, even though it meant I had no day off work for a seven month stretch. When I finally did find full-time work, I took a 67% pay cut relative to the wage I had finally begun earning in Los Angeles.

Through all those years spanning over a decade, I was in-and-out of various junior colleges and universities—seven, in the two states. When I wasn’t enrolled in night school, I worked two jobs. When I managed to save enough to attend another semester, I dropped the evening job and picked up a couple of evening classes, instead. I earned first an associate’s degree, then a bachelor’s degree in this manner, but like I said I ultimately had to borrow money, too. My parents didn’t contribute a dime to my effort.

There’s more, lots more, beyond just that decade or so, but all that to say this: If I’m to be careful in making assumptions concerning the considerations of Shelby County residents relative to this pending school consolidation, you should be careful about making assumptions concerning the life experiences of people you don’t know—especially if those people have had decades more time than you in which to acquire those life experiences.

My family’s level of wealth is less than you imagine, I’m afraid, but I do hope you and your remaining parent and all those inner city Memphis residents acquire their modicum of wealth, too.

In the final analysis, though, it seems to me exceedingly important that we don’t try to deny others in an effort to acquire it, this sentiment from someone who has been one of those “others.”

Up Goose Creek's picture

School Zones

My neighborhood is not zoned for Dogwood. And while we have some problem families we also have some very stable functional families.

Rachel's neighborhood is zoned for Dogwood - I don't think anyone considers her neighborhood economically disadvantaged.

I don't appreciate you painting South Knoxville with the broad brush of poverty any more than you appreciate people assuming Powell is "rich".

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Goose, I just checked at the State Report Card my understanding of the level of poverty in the eight schools I think are the sum of our schools in South Knoxville.*

Every one of them, without exception, battles majority poverty at levels up to 92.5%. That's not a slur, that's a fact you can verify for yourself here.

I also averaged the stats for those eight schools and arrived at a 70-ish percent poverty level overall among South Knoxville's public school children.

In the state legislature, they refer to a similar level of Republicans now serving as a "supermajority."

Yes, I realize that every neighborhood in South Knoxville isn't poor and that a smattering of Democrats remains in the state legislature, too.

But I also think our concern for both entities is warranted.

(Those schools being Dogwood, Gap Creek, Mooreland Hgts, Mt Olive, New Hopewell, So-Doyle High, So-Doyle Middle, and So Knox. Did I miss anybody?)

bizgrrl's picture

Bonny Kate.

Bonny Kate.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


An exception, at 45.3%. I couldn't recall where it was located.

I was about to edit that post to acknowledge my understanding that averaging the poverty stats at schools so varied in size isn't a real exacting approach. We shouldn't assign the same weight to South-Doyle High's stat as we do to Gap Creek's, for instance.

It was a quick, if sloppy, attempt to get a clearer picture of the overall demographic.

And, again, that's of interest because the charter school movement is playing on it. That, and these building utilization rates of theirs.

I think Knox County is quite vulnerable, that's all, especially schools inside the city limits. The ones outside the city limits tend to be overcrowed, but I'm going to take a look at poverty levels and utilization rates for every school, if I can.

And if I can, I'll share sometime soon.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I'll probably finish that arithmetic task just in time to see the BoE deliver on that promise they made back in 2007 to rezone all our elementary and middle schools, eh?

If no one will bite for inclusionary housing, our choices may be charter schools or massive bussing at every grade level...

bizgrrl's picture

It would appear inclusionary

It would appear inclusionary housing in Knoxville (try to move the economically disadvantaged to neighborhoods that are more economically advantaged) would require movement from South to North/Northwest or West and from some parts of the country (North side) to the city. The majority of Knox County elementary school students are already in the economically advantaged areas. Thus, would it be better to get the economically advantaged to move to economically disadvantaged areas?

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Thus, would it be better to get the economically advantaged to move to economically disadvantaged areas?

I was wondering the same thing last night.

We (and the BoE, obviously) would have to know more about building capacity in all the schools involved, I guess.

Unless there are some instances in which urban and suburban populations can just be flipped???

(Out for a bit.)

bizgrrl's picture

Of the top 20 elementary

Of the top 20 elementary schools with highest level of economically disadvantaged (59.5% or above), three of them are in South Knoxville. The majority are in North Knoxville (or North west) (Maynard, Christenberry, Lonsdale, Belle Morris, Inskip, Norwood, Spring Hill, Norwood, Beaumont, Adrien Burnett, and Pleasant Ridge).

Of the top 20 elementary schools with lowest level of economically disadvantaged (50.1% or below), one of them is in South Knoxville. The remainder are in West and North Knoxville (or Northwest). The four elementary schools with a poverty level less than 20% are Blue Grass, AL Lotts, Farragut Primary, and Sequoyah.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Yes, I realized that and I suspect most everyone does.

This focus on South Knox schools arose yesterday primarily due to discussion between Rachel and me on school size.

I didn't mean to suggest that any majority of poor schools exists south, nor do I think anyone much familiar with Knox would have taken that from the conversation. Well, I hope not.

Rachel's picture

Stop feeding the troll.

Stop feeding the troll. Especially you, Tamara. It's really enjoying it.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Yeah, I kinda feel like I've done all I can to establish those "proletarian creds" she requires before considering anyone's ideas.

If and when she comes back, either she'll choose to discuss the ideas presented or I, for one, am content to just ignore her.

(I didn't quite grasp how she could repeatedly state her concerns for her surviving parent's safety and home value, yet disparaged me for acknowledging the validity of those same concerns, yet supported the creation of independent school districts in Shelby to circumvent root problems there, yet chastised me for acknowledging that I felt a responsibility for my community to carry only its own "fair share" of those problems??? Sounded a little schizo? Or maybe, by 3:45 a.m., sleep deprived?)

underthebusdem's picture

Oh no i know tamara shepard.

Oh no i know tamara shepard. Gentrification tamara, is that your answer? You gonna move those other better off people, yourself not included, to the poor neighborhoods, (by the way you're gonna need a nice tax break for that) and when a critical mass has arrived to sufficiently ensure that the better off people dont have to be burdened with more than their fair share of the poor folks, the property values and neighborhood improvement would have increased so much that the poor folks will be long gone from that place. You dont even see the continued lack of credence you have my dear. Buying a condo and driving a car woth 300 30 years ago means nothing. 2) you arent the only one whose slept for weeks at a time in a motel just trying to get by 3) have you gotten started on getting those poor folks new housing beside maryville hs yet? Tell you what, ill just limit it to the poor people of blount county. They should have a right to the maryville schools, tamara. You are such a hypocrite. If there's too many poor people, move the non poor in.

underthebusdem's picture

1) you dont know what time i

1) you dont know what time i wrote this you just know what time it posted to knoxviews. When you are all out of ideas, you're gonna attack an arbitrary time stamp on a knoxviews post, seriously? Do you understand how the internet works, tamara?

2)the following places are CITIES in shelby county: bartlett, germantown, collierville, millington. They have their own police, fire, sanitary water system, city councils, mayors, city staff. Yes, they amalgamated their resources for schools, but situations change. When are you tamara spread the poverty around pro gentrification shepard, going to get started on moving the impoverished to new inclusionary housing next to maryville high school? You see tamara, the change is already beginning in some of the neighborhoods inside those cities. Now you can sit and pontificate about how I should be FOR Inclusionary housing, yet such idyllic utopian theories are not part of even ONE PIECE of legislation in this state. YOU want your nostalgic powell but in your opinion its perfectly fine for a working class neighborhood to turn into the ghetto in order to help poor black people!

3) living in motel makes you no different. I too have lived in motels to make it week to week after moving to a new job. I get that very very well. Trust me darling i dont just say it to try to give myself credence when i say i worked through college, took out loans, worked through grad school, did many jobs for free, took the first paying position i could find after grad school in an economy where the average unemployment rate for any recent grad (no matter the age) was 50%, and finally got a job in my field starting over 10 years after my undergrad. You dont have a clue woman. NOTHING in your life's story gives you any specialness or grounds to take any moral authority or otherwise on charter schools, inner city schools, poor people, black people, brown people, or anyone younger older or other than YOURSELF.

4) i am shocked that you now believe the best thing to do is move the well to do. Exactly how is that not promoting gentrification and the further demise of the poor tamara? You dont even know and please spare me another utopian idyllic story about how its not gentrification. You gonna go get nice big fat tax breaks to move upper class into lower class neighborhoods? People who can afford to pay for property are going to get it nearly for free in probably the last place poor people have to live and when you get a few seeds of upwardly mobile planted then you'll get your new wave of people who suddenly find the old dump an appealing new hip place to live and poof your poverty problem will be gone, somewhere else. Just another version of drawing a line. Upper class people will have gotten a heck of a deal on some property with nice tax indentives to live there.

Lets be real clear it's not YOUR 7 acres in powell that has been targeted for ghettoization. No no, you only want your share by dissemination. Meanwhile you want to sit and demonize people who now have an entire future of their homes sitting in committees. There is NO CHOICE here. There isnt even a committee to study the proposal of inclusionary housing tamara its just an idea in your head. In the end how damn inclusionary does it have to be, i alreadydescribed the neighborhood as working class with a housing stock over 40 years old and blue collar. Fyi, the upwardly mobile black people live in a new neighborhood about 5 miles to the south. They dont want the ghetto moving in next door to them eithe and even moreso, YOU DONT WANT IT EITHER!

underthebusdem's picture

Aww how cute, you must have

Aww how cute, you must have watched movies about urban poor black neighborhoods.

Up Goose Creek's picture


South Doyle high has a economically disadvanted ratio of 57% - it does draw some students from poorer sections of East Knoxville but that figure or a little less probably works for an average.

So what are the dollar limits of income to recieve a reduced cost lunch?

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Goose, these are the eligibility guidelines for Free and Reduced Meals this school year.

Up Goose Creek's picture


I would hardly consider a family of 4 earning $40K hopeless. They could be doing OK or they could be struggling. A lot depends on how much they pay for their house, is that 1, 1 1/2, or 2 incomes. Do they have free child care, contacts for a good used car and affordable car repair, do they cook or eat out, etc.

You could argue that a native 1 1/2 income family making 40K with a good support system is better off than a transplant family with 2 incomes making 70K.

The real kicker is health & dental care. That can make or break a family's budget.

There are more important factors for academic sucess than whether the family earns more than the magic $42,600.

Up Goose Creek's picture


Thus, would it be better to get the economically advantaged to move to economically disadvantaged areas?

It would be a lot more politically feasible But to do that you need to have incentives: neighborhood schools, STEM academies and maybe even (gasp) schools within the schools.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I would hardly consider a family of 4 earning $40K hopeless

That's because you aren't part of any family of four, Goose! Please ask someone who is and I know you'll hear differently?

The real kicker is health & dental care. That can make or break a family's budget.

Ain't that the truth. Don't know how our rates compare, but this family of four pays $6,000 annually for health/dental/vision. Car insurance for the four of us runs another $4,000 (with $3,000 being for the two kids, the 16 year-old lacking his own car and just being insured as a driver on mine).

Can you see that $40K (gross) slipping away quickly?!

Anyway, last I looked, MPC was still using some 2003-ish number for median household income in Knox County, so I just found this THDA chart, used to determine elgibility for Section 8 housing.

It says the median family income in Knoxville is $58,800 this year and that for their purposes an income of $47,300 for a family of four is "low income."

There are more important factors for academic success than whether the family earns more than the magic $42,600.

I would certainly agree that families at this income level may overcome the obstacle--and I'm pretty pleased with my own single-income family's accomplishment in this regard, too-- but income is still the single most reliable indicator of a student's potential for academic success (say the experts in their many studies, anyway).

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Do they have free child care...

And yeah, this one's huge.

I got into this rather terse discussion at the KNS site recently among some folks who clearly didn't understand what childcare costs.

My daughter, though, has recently worked at two different childcare centers locally over her summer breaks and at a third at UTC during the school year, all three of which charge around $1,300 a month, nearly $16,000 per year, for two children ages "infant" and "toddler."

And I thought it was tough when I had to pay it...

underthebusdem's picture

How much gentrification does

How much gentrification does it take to be a fair share tamara? This is spread the poverty around. Too bad my comment was deleted on the absurdity of your post. But its alright, you've been questioned on why you wont be the first person to move into the "working class" neighborhood and your answer was something nostalgic about powell.

underthebusdem's picture

As i consider further

As i consider further tamara's idyllic utopia, ive come to the realization that tamara believes poor people cant live together. Since in the case of east and west tennessee poor people are more likely to be non white, tamara's solution, either through tax incentives for builders to build in upper class neighborhoods or through tax incentives for the well off to move to lower class neighborhoods is ultimately the complete dissoluton of poor black neighborhoods. This doesnt mean there still wont be poor black people, but with them disseminated amongst the population with all incentive and financial breaks going to those who can afford to pay, the poor black will no longer be such a targeted problem but a little part of neighborhoods. Yeah no more poor black ghettos because people of the kind that is least favorable will no longer live together! Hear hear for gentrification, forced dissemination, and a total wash out of the poor black voice. By golly you've done it, tamara!

Of course we can force everyone to live together happily ever after, i mean money never spoke a word.

Up Goose Creek's picture


I know of working class people who still live in 4th & Gill. Both homeowners and renters. Gentrification isn't an overnight thing. I know working class kids who have gotten jobs as a result of contacts with their UMC neighbors. It's not all rosy and I know renters can get displaced but it is one way to achieve economic integration.

Even better is policies that help families that have improved their incomes feel comfortable staying in the old neighborhood. Schools is a big part of that and crime control, too.

What is this talk about tax breaks? The only ones I know of are historic tax credits for rental property. That could influence gentrification but the property has to stay rental for 5 years.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Goose, unlike Bus's characterization of such programs as some kind of Trail of Tears forced migration, my understanding of inclusionary housing ordinances is that they guide all new construction to ensure that any such development in any area includes a healthy mix of units for purchase or rent.

They do not, say, demand that a particular neighborhood receive an exclusively low-income development, as in requiring that the area receive a Section 8 apartment complex.

Here is a brief (two-page) overview of Sacramento, California's local ordinance, which provides that any new development must set aside 5% of units for low income residents and 10% of units for very low income residents and establishes caps as to costs for units, whether rented or purchased.

You see, then, how such an ordinance can "stir the pot" in a municipality from the ground up, as its bricks are laid--which to me seems so much more palatable than bussing of the sort that creates 10 and 15 mile commutes for students and still fails to "un-pen" families from being obligated to live in areas where they'd rather not.

As to developer incentives, this city's plan appears to offer numerous fee reductions granted by local government, as well as some tax credits available by and administered through state and federal government? I'll bet we have folks on this list who can more fully explain to us how those programs work.

Anyway, the desired results aren't brought about immediately, by any means. Still, over time inclusionary housing ordinances afford broader housing choice to low income residents, even as they assure existing neighborhoods like that of Bus's parent that their neighborhood won't suffer any overnight transformation into a "ghetto."

(And obviously, these ordinances work to create diversified school communities as the bricks are laid, too.)

underthebusdem's picture

Oh so now its not 40 year old

Oh so now its not 40 year old neighborhoods with working people living there just trying to protect their neighborhood from encroaching poverty, its "new" construction. You have played more semantics in this than a little bit tamara. So i guess everyone in my old neighborhood is suppose to go move into new homes in some new neighborhood somewhere else. So we can bulldoze the place. Dont get on here acting like there is some real choice going on here about what the people who are protecting their homes and neighborhoods from encroaching poverty in shelby county. And you want to talk about the trail of tears. Seriously, woman. I have been discussing this ENTIRE TIME maintaining the stabilization of established working class neighborhoods that have housng stock built in the 70s and you want to play semantics with me. Why is this always your game, tamara? How's that ordinance for maryville working yet. No report?

underthebusdem's picture

Well nothing else has been

Well nothing else has been said. It was yet again another round of the best of Knoxviews brought to you by the people who only want to have their fair share of poor in their schools. Lets be clear, nothing that Ms. Shepard wrote here addresses poverty. Her position, while sitting on 7 acres of land in one of the most financially upward communities of east tennessee, was to play a hypothetical game of switcheroo where "well off" people, which of course is not tamara herself, would move into poor neighborhoods. Im not sure what the incentive would be for them to do that but there would have to be one. Furthermore, im not sure how you FORCE those people who are moving into poor neighborhoods to be the ones who have kids. Even then, if they did have kids, im not sure how you FORCE these well off people that you've provided some financial incentive to move into the poor neighborhood to actually send their kids to the local public school. Of course if you throw in a little political tinkering, we could hand out vouchers to those families because they live in an economically depressed neighborhood. The second part of switcheroo by Tamara is to have some idyllic housing in the well off neighborhoods, but not on her 7 acres of land. I would suppose you would need some financial incentive for a builder and even moreso for the well off neighborhood where the poor people's housing will be built. Somehow in all of this, Tamara proclaimed that the entire issue of encroaching urban poverty into suburban cities of shelby county that already include working class neighborhoods with single parent families, rental property, apartments, and young couples buying older property as starter homes, will all be fixed by some kind of magic in the next 6 months by declaring on knoxviews my support for inclusionary housing. Again, this idyllic notion of inclusionary housing does not have one work group, one committee, one legislator, one active effort to make it an actual law, anywhere in the state of tennessee in the next year. There is NOTHING. So, tamara's assertion that there is somehow this mythical choice of whether or not to have inclusionary housing in my neighborhood where my parent has lived since 1980, is false. Furthermore, the neighborhood itself is already a working class neighborhood as i have stated many times. Also, I guess tamara has never seen the demise of neighborhoods once encroaching urban poverty takes root in a neighborhood, but it's swift and vast. No neighborhood that has gone from working class to urban poor has resulted in improved outcomes in the neighborhood schools or improved economic status. Over time it gets poorer and poorer as property values further decline and the neighborhood further destabilizes. in the schools disipline completely erodes. One only has to look at the trajectory of craigmont high - a once middle class school situated in a once middle class neighborhood in Memphis, and kirby high school, a once county school situated in the southern part of shelby county that was annexed about 15 years ago, in the last 15 years to observe this phenomenon. Which brings us back to tamara's opinion's stated on here about special school districts in shelby county. When looking at special school districts, one only has to look at blount county. You have blount county schools, maryville city schools, and alcoa city schools. I assure you there are no plans to have the rural poor Appalachian students that i worked with to have any access whatsoever to Maryville high school, which boasts one of the highest academic performances in the state and one of the highest incomes in the state. This is just one example. These cities in shelby county are bigger than most of the cities in the rest of the state that have their own school districts. If enacted, a bartlett school district will be the largest school district in the state behind the 4 major urban districts. The point of all of this is despite tamara's complete lack of real knowledge on the issues regarding housing, education, and the poor, she continued to espouse certain moral authority about what other people should do regarding protecting and maintaining their homes and neighborhoods. She is completely dismissive of the fact that people with money will always find a way to move further out. Yes, creating some special school districts inside the county lines of shelby county, is saying these neighborhoods are not going to succumb to the encroaching poverty that has spread out throughout the city of Memphis, in some cases to a mere 5 miles away. Allowing poverty to further encroach doesnt fix the poverty, it just destabilizes more neighborhoods and leaves many people like my parent and others who have also lived in the area for 30 plus years, few options for themselves regarding their life and their future housing needs. It's keeping a tax base present and its keeping working class neighborhoods stabilized and its keeping people who earn their living in shelby county, actually maintaining homes inside shelby county. I find it most ironic that tamara's only sense is that powell high should have no more than its "fair share" of poor people, i suppose that would be students on free and reduced lunch. I also find it very telling that all this discussion is largely about spreading out certain groups of people which would ultimately diminish them politically, socially, and economically all in the name of "fair share."

R. Neal's picture

Would you either a) learn how

Would you either a) learn how to make paragraphs (hint: hit enter twice) and b) slow your roll a little bit or c) go somewhere else.

Thank you,

underthebusdem's picture

Wow randy. This attitude

Wow randy. This attitude certainly aligns itself with knoxviews experience, we dont like you because you didnt hit enter, we dont like you because my cousin's friend's mother in 1950 decided she hated you, we dont like you because you haven't proven yourself in the party even though we refuse to lift a finger in the party and refuse to donate one dime to the party

I didnt realize on my digital device that the enter wasnt translating over. But you know, anyone who ever has anything to say that goes against the grain of this place, like roy herron for chairman or whatever, gets invited to leave.

Sorry my post goes against the grain, but i dont agree with the perpetual notion that somehow knoxville is less than, especially when the comparison being made is to places with lower outcomes, a different development pattern, different economic statuses at every level of the economic spectrum, different cultures, and different issues. Knoxville has a wonderful family and community atmosphere. It's a college town inside a city with decent infrastructure and economic development. There are many opportunities for professional diversity in Knoxville. The schools are really decent and the teacher's are very good. Knoxville is geographically situated close to some wonderful places. It's not this kind of hellhole it's made out to be on here and neither is UTK.

I get both sides of the state and have lived and worked in all 3 grand divisions. I dont think anyone has the moral authority to tell someone or allude to someone else in the state facing imminent issues regarding housing and neighborhood security issues that they are racist for protecting their homes and neighborhoods against real encroaching poverty. There are other ways that this should be addressed than this perpetual cycle of decay and the leaders of those cities are taking that approach. What's good enough for maryville and alcoa should also be good for bartlett and millington.

CathyMcCaughan's picture

My parents bought the land at

My parents bought the land at 4297 Sunnyslope Drive and we watched our home being built. From the very beginning, that neighborhood housed working class families and very few of their children were ever going to climb the socioeconomic ladder. Dozens of homes in that neighborhood housed parents and children who were in and out of jail. My peers at Kirby got pregnant or dropped out of school. The most successful teens from our neighborhood joined the military or became hairdressers. I stood in the corner store when Kirby students robbed the clerk at gunpoint. All of that happened when the neighborhood was almost entirely white. Your impotent rage is childish. If you weren't attacking Tamara and having poverty porn competitions, you would see that you are both on the same team, but using different playbooks.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I might have added that over 200 municipalities nationwide have inclusionary housing ordinances, including Fairfax, VA.

You may recall that when Knox was conducting its last search for a school superintendent, one of the BoE's three finalists, Bingelli, was from Fairfax.

I supported his selection in part because he was from Fairfax and I'd hoped he might be instumental in helping us adopt these measures, too.

But five years later, nothing...

underthebusdem's picture

As you have just stated this

As you have just stated this is still a hypothetical situation for tennessee and has nothing to do with stymieing the encroaching poverty in shelby county and has NO BEARING on an imminent situation with working class neighborhoods in shelby county. Go bark up another tree.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Inclusionary housing ordinances are generally adopted at the local level, not the state level.

I think a couple of states have laws, though?

In complete honesty, given how slowly these ordinances work to bring about change, I'm not sure they are any fix now for homeowners like Bus's parent, the issue now being being that Shelby County just engaged in circumvention of their problem for too long.

I look at the situation in Shelby County, then, and worry that Knox County might also wait too long.

I still think Shelby should consider such measures looking forward, but it appears that it will just take them more time to undo the damage already wrought by having allowed housing segregation for so long.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I meant to mention, too, something in regard to Bus's observation that families who are able to do so will always "just move further out."

This has long been true in most urban areas, of course, but I wanted to bring your attention to a measure recently adopted by Rutherford County, housing many of Nashville's "bedroom communities," to slow down that trend: Rutherford adopted an ordinance to guide density, essentially mapping the county into concentric rings and dictating that new development of lower density (your gated communities of McMansions) cannot be undertaken in those areas farthermost out.

Granted, there was an outcry from property owners having planned to sell their land at higher prices for just such developments, but Rutherford got 'er done.

I've previously linked here the story in The Tennessean, but I can't immediately find it again. I recall reading it in April 2012, when I was visiting Nashville and caught it in their hard copy edition.

Rachel or someone more familiar with our guidelines here in Knox, do we have any such dictates? I thought not?

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I don't like UTK, I don't like Stacy Campfield. I think Chattanooga has done a better job with their riverfront development, I think Cincinnati has, too. Doesn't mean I don't like Knoxville.

My husband and I built a home on property held in his family for generations. Before we did that, we talked about whether we wanted to live here for the rest of our lives. We knew we wouldn't want to sell family property and we also knew we're not the kind of folks likely to ever afford two homes, even though this one is quite modest.

Our decision to build here was a decision to be buried in our backyard.

Back on point (or closer to it): You need to accept that this "imminent issue" you face is of your own making. It is the consequence of decades in which Shelby County's suburban residents fought tooth and nail to keep the county segregated as to housing and schools. You have indicated yourself that you continue to vote for measures that would yet try to circumvent, rather than solve, your problem. You are working to foist your problem on every urban area of the state by maintaining that we should all follow the lead of Shelby County's suburbanites.

Not only should we ignore the leadership you offer, we needn't show you any sympathy for your "imminent issue," either.

Get your head around it. And stop calling yourself a "Dem."

Rachel's picture

Please stop feeding the

Please stop feeding the troll.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.


TN Progressive

TN Politics

Knox TN Today

Local TV News

News Sentinel

State News

Local .GOV

State .GOV

Wire Reports

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid/TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding. (Source)

Monthly archive