Wed
Apr 11 2007
01:04 am

Hello Knox View Readers,

I just sent an email to my constituents regarding the proposed high school re-zoning. I am hosting a community forum on this issue at Fulton High School on Wednesday April 25th, 7pm. Here's a link to some FAQs about the proposal:

(link...).

Thanks to the one poster who actually claimed to be pleased with the proposal!

Indya Kincannon
Knox County Board of Education
2nd District (North Knoxville and Fountain City)

Topics:
228
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Tamara Shepherd's picture

Prompt and proactive

Indya, on behalf of the smattering of Powell-zoned families who (for the moment)live in your 2nd District, thanks for your very prompt and proactive approach to soliciting public comment on the rezoning plan. I'll help start spreading a link to your invitation tonight.

I only hope every other school board member acts so quickly and with as much caring to include constituents in a close study of these many maps.

MrVolunteer's picture

Northeast Knoxville Changes Not Well Thought Out

The proposed rezoning from Carter to Austin-East simply will not fly. It breaks up the 80-year-old Holston Hills neighborhood into 2 districts. It also puts many students who are now going to Sunnyview Primary, Chilhowee Intermediate. & even Carter Middle into Austin-East High. That is simply unacceptable to the families in Holston Hills & Chilhowee Hills. That part of the rezoning must be nixed or there will be a big outcry. I could've seen "Q" doing this, but not Mullins. That is a big mistake on his part & it will be an even bigger mistake if the board tries to ratify it as is. The Holston Heights part of the plan would be fine. The rest of it will not work at all. As long as the line is redrawn to west of West Sunset, that will work. As a lifelong resident of Holston Hills, I can tell you that no one in this area will stand for it as proposed. If anyone in this area wants to go to A-E, they can still easily do so through the majority-to-minority transfer requests that are routinely approved. Surely both school board members Jim Williams & Sam Anderson, who live in the areas, will agree with me on this. Similarly, the changes from both Fulton & Gibbs to Austin-East need to be changed to Carter instead, if they are to be moved at all. Those were the natural areas that fed Holston in the past from Spring Hill Elementary & should now go to Carter, if they are to be moved at all from either Fulton or Gibbs. It is most likely inadvisable to move the area around Spring Hill from Fulton at all, & the better choice would be to move them to the Gibbs zone rather than A-E. Those in the Gibbs zone in Chilhowee Hills, if they are to be moved, should also go to Carter, rather than A-E.

Rachel's picture

So no one in Holston Hills

So no one in Holston Hills wants their kids going to A-E? What a surprise.

LAM's picture

Homes are selected for a reason!

Rachel,

It shouldn't be surprising that people in Holston Hills wouldn't want their children to go to A-E. Families with children usually choose to live where they live for a reason ... schools! I don't even live in that part of the county, but I certainly would be less than happy about that zoning change as well.

Rachel's picture

Do you really think I'm

Do you really think I'm surprised?

The horror, the horror.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

LAM, I'm a friend of

LAM, I'm a friend of Rachel's (even if I don't get to see her much), so I understand where she's coming from. Here in the land of equal opportunity, it would seem like we shouldn't have to chase down the "good schools," that they'd all be "good." But, of course, they're not.

Personally, I think when these pockets of "good schools" arise adjacent to pockets of more despairing ones, it's less related to some intrinsic quality being either present or absent in the schools themselves, and more related to good parental and community support for a school in a given area.

That's where parental finances, educational attainment, and plain ol' volume of spare time come to bear on students' success. The more parents who possess these abilities try to chase down "good schools" and become concentrated in an area, though, the more segregated they become from the parents who don't have any ability to chase schools, landing those others in "bad schools." The faster we chase, the more we exacerbate the problem, namely disparity.

I've always thought that a good mix of housing stock in a community, affording all to "buy in," could go a long way toward slowing this chasing phenomenon and speeding up this goal of genuine equal opportunity in education. The "all boats rise" kinda thing.

Anyway, a changed student demographic in my existing Powell school community as a result of this proposed rezoning isn't really a burning concern of mine and I'm perfectly aware that Karns schools are strong academically.

I'm just a sentimental sap--both my husband's and my family have lived out here a long time, and our kids are third generation in Powell schools. Even with all the developing today, there's still a large core community out here for whom that's the case.

EML's picture

Tamara, you are a refreshing

Tamara, you are a refreshing voice of reason as is PT. Both of you should run for office. I agree with everything you have said. All of us who are "whining" about being rezoned are just looking out for the best interest of our kids both academically and socially. There is nothing wrong with sentimentality at all either! Several people have had good ideas about "slowing down" this process and allowing each community to have time to gather, research and give input to figure out where we want out kids to go to school and to keep our communities together. While we all have selfish motives in the rezoning, we need to work together as an entire community and help our neighbors which may solve most of our problems in this mess. Now is our time to educate each other about our communities so that the stereotyping and finger pointing can stop. Farragut, Bearden, (insert community name here) is always being asked "where were you when (insert community issue here) happened?" Most of the time we are busy raising our own kids and working and going to church and not aware of what's happening in other communities. It's not that we don't care about other communities, it's just that everyone is busy. If you are affected by this rezoning debacle, now is the time to educate us all about what's going on in your neck of the woods. If we filter through the hatred on the blogs, I think most rational people are able to learn what's going on in other neighborhoods. Keep up the good fight, Tamara!!

CathyMcCaughan's picture

parents are allowed to care where their children attend school

Rachel, when parents choose to buy a house, they choose it largely based on the community schools.

LAM's picture

Thank you!

Ms. Kincannon,

Thank you for taking an "open-minded" approach to this situation and suggesting a public meeting. The people of this county are fighting mad over these changes and something needs to be done before a May 2nd vote changes the lives of practically every family in Knox County. The residents of the Powell community are convinced that an alternative plan can be reached, but time is needed to make that happen. This is not fixable in 3 weeks' time.

MrVolunteer's picture

Basically, the school board

Basically, the school board is going to devalue the property of everyone in Holston Hills, Chilhowee Hills, & the Spring Hill area. All of the white families in those areas will simply sell their homes & move out of the neighborhood before they send their kids to A-E. Homes will be dumped on the market for whatever they will sell for over the next 2 years & people will move into the county so that their children can go to Carter or Gibbs or even Fulton, where they have gone in the past. This decision, if it stands, will change all of the demographics in those neighborhoods. The school board would NEVER consider doing this to Sequoyah Hills, but Holston Hills has no effective representation in government. Since A-E is a magnet school & any child countywide can go there, why should it even have a zone at all? The city just spent $400,000 of taxpayer dollars rebuilding a sidewalk from Holston Hills & Chilhowee Hills to Holston Middle School. Guess what? Not one student will be walking from those neighborhoods to that school, since they will have been zoned to go elsewhere. Does it make any sense that kids go to Sunnyview Primary, then Chilhowee Intermediate, then Carter Middle, then A-E High? This is forced busing. There will be buses all over the Holston Hills area going in all different directions every day. No community has been treated so shabbily. Where is Town Hall East when you need them? This isn't a racial issue at all. It's simply a matter of practical common sense & reality. Parents are simply NOT going to send their kids to A-E, no matter what the school board dictates. They will put them in private Christian schools such as Berean before that will happen. The school board will be cutting their nose off to spite their face & causing our schools to lose federal tax dollars by declining enrollment if they make this ill-advised move.

Rachel's picture

All of the white families in

All of the white families in those areas will simply sell their homes & move out of the neighborhood before they send their kids to A-E. .... This isn't a racial issue at all.

Anybody see a contradiction here?

Tamara, thanks for the thoughtful post. And I'm sure not saying that there's no place for community in the way we zone our schools. There should be MORE thought about that. But we should think about it for EVERYBODY. I can't help believe that all the folks upset now wouldn't be saying a word if A-E kids got rezoned for say, Carter. Who would speak up for the east Knoxville community?

By all means, everybody, take a hard look at the proposed zones and speak your minds about them. But see if you can think and speak to how they affect all Knox County students, as well as your own children.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Flight

In my pollyannaish world view I'd like to see concerned parents like Mr Volunteer step in and fight to improve A E. There are cases out there where schools have done well in underperforming neighborhoods. I'd like to see our school board and community really focus on improving A E rather than leaving it in the dust.

This is a sprawl issue as well. In the neighborhoods around A E there are hundreds of vacant homes and even more empty lots. Think of the money that could be saved on infrastructure if those could be considered an attractive place for families to live.

___________________________________
Less is the new More - Karrie Jacobs

MrVolunteer's picture

Improve A-E?

How much more money should be spent on A-E? It has already had far more money per pupil spent on it than any other high school in the county. What can honestly be done to improve A-E that hasn't already been done? Their gym, library, football complex, etc., are as good or better than any in the county. At some point, the parents of the students that go there have to value education in order to get the students to be overachievers rather than underperformers. Crime is rampant throughout the area around the school. That is why there are regular drive-by shootings, heavy police patrols, drug-infested crack houses, etc. Why would anyone want to fix up empty homes in that neighborhood? Even minorities no longer want to live there if they have the means to leave. There is no rental market whatsoever, so there is no incentive for investors to fix up the houses, even with tax breaks. All this rezoning will do is expand the blighted area even further.

Pamela Treacy's picture

Tamara -- run for office

Tamara,

I think you expressed the feelings of many people with your remarks. Schools should be good everywhere in the county and community is personal passion.

Pamela Treacy's picture

speak about all communties

Rachel,

A reporter just asked me a similar question. Why should anyone care who is not in your backyard? My response is that this can happen to anyone. We as a county have to start asking where are the kids going to go to school when we develop new areas. Our government has to respect existing commuinities all around the county. Communities support schools. Better schools = better quality of life.

I'm sure I will get quoted saying something less important.

R. Neal's picture

I was just glancing through

I was just glancing through the KNS and noticed today's full page installment of their Academic Achievement awards for some area high schools.

Not to take anything away from their impressive achievements, but among the twenty photos of Brittneys, Calebs, and Heathers there was not one person of color.

Not sure if that's relevant to this and other discussions about school zoning, but it seems like it might be.

Tess's picture

KNS

I may be wrong, but I think that they are showcasing the students from various schools on different days. Today's edition may not have any minority students, but the whole group would look different if all pictured together.

Ennui's picture

Isn't A-E near the failed

Isn't A-E near the failed Five Points grocery/retail complex? No doubt that investment would and should have benefitted the entire area surrounding it including the school. Maybe sometimes the direct infusion of such funds would indeed be better if channelled directly to the school. Perhaps then it could resonate outward and spur community involvement, growth, and pride.

R. Neal's picture

Yes, I understand that.

Yes, I understand that. Today was Gatlinburg-Pittman, Gibbs, Grace Christian, Greenback, and Halls. Looks like they're going in alphabetical order. I guess I missed A-E?

But you would think that with a statewide black population of 16% there'd be 3.2 photos of African-American students out of the 20, statistically speaking.

(I realize the percentage is somewhat lower here in East TN.)

Rachel's picture

Halls

Black faces from Halls? I don't think so.

MrVolunteer's picture

Many people bought their

Many people bought their homes in reliance on the existing school districts and are outraged by this new proposed rezoning. They will never send their kids to Austin-East, which they view as unsafe, since there has been gunfire at some of their athletic events recently. They are right to worry, of course.

This is the worse thing to hit Holston Hills since Saroff Realty started blockbusting the neighborhood back in the 1960's. Holston Hills is the best integrated neighborhood in Knoxville, but it will implode if this school rezoning is approved by the board. People value their kids’ education too much. They will uproot and move to assure it. This can only be viewed as a negative thrust to Holston Hills, Chilhowee Hills, & Spring Hill, academically and in property values. It would never be allowed to happen in Fountain City, Halls, Sequoyah Hills, Farragut, Karns, etc.

Having listened to school board chairman Sam Anderson speak in the past, he may see this as a “tool” to supposedly "improve" Austin East. He has spoken about socio-economics as being a determinant of better education, such as putting kids who are from families who care what happens to them in their schools raise the education quality. Unfortunately, Sam seems to be willing to divide and sacrifice one of Knoxville's best & most cherished neighborhoods to try to better his pet school.

Even if you could fix Austin-East, which is doubtful, it won’t happen overnight and parents will not sacrifice their kids for some academic ideal or objective. A-E already has the most enriched curriculum in the county, yet virtually no one wants to go there. In fact, many minorities who live within a few blocks of it routinely take advantage of the transfer rules & have "free" taxpayer-provided transportation, including daily cab rides, to high schools in other districts across the county, because even they don't want to go there.

Recall that some 10-15 years ago, the black community refused to close Austin-East and build and attend a new super high school because they wanted their neighborhood school preserved. That is their right, of course, to want to keep it, but they should not be able destroy another neighborhood to accomplish that. It is already a magnet high school. Anyone in the entire county can attend it & receive transportation to it. The fact is that fewer people want to send their kids there & fewer want to live in the area around it.

Perhaps it is finally time to close A-E & rezone those students to Fulton, Carter, Gibbs, West, & South-Doyle, the high schools that surround it. That would be far preferable to what is being proposed now, & those who live in the A-E zone would probably welcome it as much as anyone. It might actually have the effect of improving the neighborhood around the school, too, converting it into a community center or for other worthwhile uses.

tennesseevaluesauthority's picture

Mr. Volunteer says, "Many

Mr. Volunteer says, "Many people bought their homes in reliance on the existing school districts and are outraged by this new proposed rezoning."

Apparently, "many people" think that school district lines are etched in stone. Were that the case, we would only need to decide whether the kiddies should be attending Central or Knoxville High.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Systemwide rezoning has never before been proposed!

Some posters here appear to think that this rezoning proposal under consideration is routine. It isn't. A systemwide rezoning proposal of the sort under consideration now has NEVER BEFORE been suggested in Knox County.

Several school communities slated for rezoning, including my own, have no overcrowding or underutilization problems either one, but are nevertheless included in the community-wrecking shuffle.

ARE PEOPLE AWARE THAT THIS SYSTEMWIDE REZONING PROPOSAL IS A FIRST? THAT IT IS DESTROYING COMMUNITIES, AND DESTROYING SOME OF THEM COMPLETELY WITHOUT REASON?

See: (link...)

Interim Superintendent Mullins on KCS website, April 10:
"Any rezoning action may be painful to those students who are concerned," said Mullins. "Unfortunately, we do have to rezone from time to time to alleviate school crowding and to make better use of our facilities. Overtime our population and our facilities can become unbalanced, and we have never had a comprehensive rezoning in Knox County to address this issue."

But my community's high school is *not* overcrowded, Mr. Mullins, and the only reason adjacent Karns High, where you want to send us, is underutilized is because your boneheaded school board caved in to some noisy Karns High parents who demanded a brick-and-mortar solution to their temporary overcrowding problem three years back.

In November, 2004, at a time Karns High relied on NOT ONE PORTABLE BUILDING and had HVHS funding secured to build a new high school by 2008, the board voted to build a Karns High addition to appease parents. I was at that public forum, telling them overcrowding at Karns High was a temporary problem that should be remedied by a temporary measure, namely portable classrooms. I told them that, after HVHS opened, they would be left with a big, half-empty building.

They built it anyway. Now they're preparing to empty Karns High and "make better use of" that big, half-empty building I told them they didn't need. They're destroying my community to do it, just yanking our Powell school population westward.

They call it efficiency, I call it CYA.

bizgrrl's picture

I feel for you Tamara. I

I feel for you Tamara. I hope you can gather a large group of Karns High parents to create a dialogue with Knox County Schools. Surely this can be worked out.

AML's picture

Tamara, I'd venture to say

Tamara,
I'd venture to say that the Bearden and West communities have been pulled into this just as the Powell community has and all are being wrongly cut up by this. If one compares the proposed zoning for HVHS in December and now this completely different rezoning - the difference is startling. And hurtful to communities - communities that have identities. And if the plan is to vote on it by May 2, it appears to be pretty much a done deal. Which is even more depressing

knoxnative's picture

Whose Plan?

From
WBIR.COM

"Board members say they did not draw the lines for the new zones. The Knox County Zoning and Transportation Department consulted with the Metropolitan Planning Commission to come up with the proposal."

CathyMcCaughan's picture

MPC

From their website (emphasis mine):

"The Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) was established in 1956 by Knoxville and Knox County as the agency responsible for comprehensive county-wide planning and administration of zoning and land subdivision regulations and remains so today, except for the town of Farragut."

Rachel's picture

Just because MPC doesn't

Just because MPC doesn't usually do long-term planning or approve development proposal inside the municipal boundaries of Farragut, doesn't mean the school system can't ask them to do a study of school zones, including Farragut. MPC has better demographic data than anyone around.

That doesn't mean the proposed zones are good ones. It just means attacking MPC over them is a pretty silly way to go.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Like Sheriff Dept and KPD

Rachel, just to clarify some comments I've made, my frustration with MPC and school board is that, until very recently, their working relationship was a lot like the one that existed between Hutchison and Keith.

It appears to be improving now, especially WRT their collaboration to produce the PEFA study, but the friction between them in the past has had a lot to do with getting us where we are now, and has led to this insane notion of relocating communities to fill mislocated facilities.

AML's picture

Well, board members

Well, board members certainly have the power to change those lines created by the zoning and transporation dept with the MPC

CathyMcCaughan's picture

upcoming mtgs

So far, I have the following mtg dates. If I have missed any, please let me know.

1) Wednesday April 18th, the Large Assembly room at the City County Building Downtown, is the Board of Education regular meeting, at 5:00 PM, at which Interim Superintendent Roy Mullins, is scheduled to present the Re-Zoning plan to the entire School Board. There is no public forum time scheduled for this meeting.

2) Thursday April 19th, at 7:00 PM, Roy Mullins (who has already said that everyone will get over it after the vote passes) will be speaking to parents of affected children who would be moved from Bearden to West, at Bearden High School.

3) Thursday April 25th, at 7:00 PM, Indya Kincannon will speak to parents at Fulton High.

4) Monday, April 30th, at 5:00 PM, at the Large assembly Room at the City County Building Downtown. This meeting is when the School Board will discuss the new plan during their regular meeting. There is a public forum scheduled for this meeting. Contact Janice Myers to book a space to speak at myersj6@k12tn.net .

5) Wednesday, May 2, at 5:00 PM, the Large assembly Room at the City County Building Downtown. This meeting is when the School Board will vote on the new plan during their regular meeting. There is a public forum scheduled for this meeting. Contact Janice Myers to book a space to speak at myersj6@k12tn.net .

Indya's picture

Powell HS metg

I believe several School Board members are holding community forums in their districts. The ones I know of are as follows: Rex Stooksbury is holding a meeting at Powell HS on 4/24, 6:30pm. Karen Carson and Dan Murphy are both holding forums on 4/19, I think at Bearden and West High Schools.

Indya Kincannon

DAVID's picture

CONSUMED

THE SUBJECT OF REZONING HAS CONSUMED MOST OF THE COUNTY FOR MOST OF THE PAST WEEK INCLUDING MYSELF. I HAVE FOUND MYSELF CALLING SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS, NEIGHBORS, AND OTHERS THAT I WOULD HAVE NEVER CONSIDERED CALLING BEFORE. ALL IN THE HOPES THAT THE SCHOOL BOARD MIGHT ACTUALLY LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE THAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE REPRESENTING.

SOME PEOPLE MAY OR MAY NOT CARE ABOUT WHERE THEIR KIDS GO TO SCHOOL BUT I DO.

I LIVE ON THE EAST SIDE OF THE POWELL SCHOOL ZONE AND HAVE FOR NINE YEARS. MY WIFE AND MYSELF MOVED HERE WITH HOPES OF BOTH OF OUR DAUGHTERS ATTENDING POWELL SCHOOLS. BUT IT APPEARS THAT SOME PEOPLE WOULD LIKE TO PULL THAT DECISION AWAY FROM US AND SEND OUR CHILDREN THROUGH ANOTHER SCHOOL ZONE (HALLS) TO GET TO CENTRAL. THIS SEEMS UNACCEPTABLE TO ME WHEN WE LIVE JUST 3.9 MILES AWAY FROM POWELL HIGH SCHOOL AND 6-7 MILES AWAY FROM CENTRAL. AT THE SAME TIME BRINGING STUDENTS FROM THE NORWOOD AREA NOW ZONED FOR CENTRAL UP TO 8-MILES AWAY TO POWELL. I CALLED KCS TO FIND OUT WHY THIS WAS PROPOSED AND THEY SAID IT WAS A TRANSPORTATION ISSUE. ALSO ON THE OTHER SIDE OF CLINTON HIGHWAY THEY WANT TO TAKE ANOTHER GROUP OF STUDENTS FROM POWELL TO KARNS HIGH SCHOOL. I HAVE NOT DONE THE MATH BUT I AM CERTAIN THEY ARE CLOSER TO POWELL THAN KARNS. IS THIS ALSO A TRANSPORTATION ISSUE OR TO FILL UP KARNS FROM THE DEPARTURE OF AROUND 1,000 STUDENTS TO THE NEW HARDIN VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL.

I THOUGHT THIS NEW HIGH SCHOOL WAS TO TAKE CARE OF OVER CROWDING AT THE WEST KNOX COUNTY SCHOOLS. NOT CHANGE THE OUTLOOK OF EVERY SCHOOL IN THE COUNTY.

IT APPEARS TO ME THAT THE MOVING AROUND OF STUDENTS IS MORE ABOUT COVERING UP PAST MISTAKES THAN TAKING CARE OF THE EDUCATION OF OUR CHILDREN.

I ALSO KNOW THAT POWELL IS NOT THE ONLY PLACE THIS IS HAPPENING. I CAN ONLY HOPE THAT EVERYBODY THIS IS HAPPENING TO IS CALLING THEIR SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS, NEIGHBORS AND ANYONE ELSE THAT CAN GET THIS PROBLEM TAKEN CARE OF. WE NEED TO FIGHT FOR OUR COMMUNITIES BECAUSE IF WE DON'T NOBODY ELSE WILL.

Rachel's picture

Please find the "caps lock"

Please find the "caps lock" key.

LAM's picture

Amen, David!

We are "west" Powell residents and, clearly, opposed to this plan as well. To clear up the distance issue you questioned with regard to the residents west of Clinton Highway, our family lives just past the "new" Clinton Highway dividing line, so we can practically spit and hit the middle school. We are literally minutes from all three Powell schools. I may be speaking out of turn, but many residents on "this side" may not be totally opposed with regard to transportation since many live further west than we do and maybe a commute to Karns wouldn't be totally unreasonable, but I think the main issue all Powell residents being re-zoned have is with regard to our community being torn apart! We all live in Powell and want to attend school in the community we live in. That is certainly reasonable and expected. To live in one community and attend school in another is totally ridiculous and unreasonable to ask people to do. We are being "forced" to Karns because Karns is losing nearly 1,000 students to Hardin Valley. There is also the issue of students being re-zoned to Powell who do not live in Powell and, potentially, could care less about this community. Communities are built by families who put something into them.

For all interested: Rex Stooksbury is having a public forum on April 24th at Powell High School at 6:30 p.m. If you are at all concerned about re-zoning in the Powell area, please plan to attend this meeting and offer your concerns, suggestions, comments, or ideas.

CathyMcCaughan's picture

meetings

I think I have all the announced meetings listed here. I don't have dates or times for the gatherings being planned by individuals.

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