Tue
Apr 10 2007
05:00 pm
By: CathyMcCaughan  shortURL

Raise your hand if you have looked at the new school zone maps and feel like crying. Why did they even bother having public hearings if they weren't going to listen to anyone?

256
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EML's picture

Amen to that Cathy!!! The

Amen to that Cathy!!! The criteria set forth by personnel and the School Board last year when all this began was to: 1. Listen to public input, 2. Keep feeder schools together and look at safe methods of transportation. That is certainly not happening in our district. My kids are going to be put in a school/community they have not had any part of all of their lives. Hard to believe. Write those School Board members and personnel who came up with this before the 18th-otherwise(and it may be now)too late!

CathyMcCaughan's picture

look at the maps

Look at the maps. This is about more than just high school crowding. Taking our neighborhood and swapping it with a downtown neighborhood doesn't change the numbers of students at either school. Lindsey may have had problems, but he wouldn't have let this zoning pass. They are doubling my child's travel time each way, taking her away from the high school her brother attends and making her start over the process of getting into activities and testing out of classes. I will be attending the April 30th and May 2nd meetings, writing letters, sending e-mails and making phone calls. In the end, I already know I'll end up sending her to a private school.

Rachel's picture

Um, exactly which

Um, exactly which neighborhoods are you talking about?

rocketsquirrel's picture

interesting

Cathy,

interesting point. could it be the school board pushed Lindsey out to get this done in spite of him?

CL's picture

I'm not Cathy, but there is

I'm not Cathy, but there is no doubt in my mind that this is why Lindsey was kicked out.

It does not make any sense to switch some kids between schools. (Example: Moving kids from Powell to Central so that you can move some other kids from Central to Powell.) They are doing that with Central\Powell, West\Bearden, and Fulton\Austin-East.

I'm also amazed at how far east the Hardin Valley High zone will be. The east end of it is near Gallaher View Rd. We used to live in a townhouse that was zoned for Karns. You could pull out of the parking lot at Bearden High and see the roof of our home. We were a lot closer to Bearden than Karns but we were zoned for Karns. Under this plan, that townhouse will be zoned for Hardin Valley.

Now I understand why they were trying to sneak this in.

attacker's picture

MULLILNS/HALLS PRINCIPAL?

Is it true that Mr. Mullins was a Halls Principal for 20 years?? Only 4 students from this disctict are being rezoned which I have been told by a Halls resident was "long overdue" ????

StaceyDiamond's picture

Roy Mullins

Roy Mullins was principal at Halls for many years (as well as the butt of a joke on John Bean's tapes,hilarious), he was my principal as well as Board Member Cindy Buttry's principal. I don't know what its like at Halls now. I don't have a dog in the fight, but if I did I would probably put them in private school, because of Knox and Tenn standards, not the zones. I thought it was interesting that there was no rezoning for South Doyle. In k-12 friends are everything, so I understand why some kids would be upset. But, the one parent on the news saying they would never get over this was over the top. I liked the idea of creating some magnent schools, like making one out of Hardin Valley, but who knows how many it would draw. I read today that k-8 rezoning was next.

Sandra Clark's picture

Charles Lindsey

For the life of me I don't see how this rezoning has anything to do with the departure/retention of Charles Lindsey as superintendent. My perception is that he wasn't engaged enough to know WHERE the zone lines are. Roy Mullins has been keeping things afloat for awhile. -- s.

AML's picture

whoever did it, it's bad. it

whoever did it, it's bad. it appears that students in many schools are being moved east and west because no enough farragut folks wanted to go to hardin valley. look at the hardin valley zone - it goes go way east but how deep does it go into the farragut zone? why move farragut kids to bearden and bearden kids to west and west kids to central - why not move more of the farragut kids to hardin valley and then you don't have to move farragut kids to bearden, bearden kids to west, etc., etc. a lot less heartbreak, a lot less disruption.

Paul Witt's picture

I'm actually happy with our

I'm actually happy with our change (Bearden to West). Most of Rocky Hill looks to be moved to West so my kids will now have the chance to be in school with the same kids all the way through HS.

No objections here unless they do something screwy with middle school zones next.

CathyMcCaughan's picture

Beardent to West

Paul - We're in Rocky Hill, but I am not happy with this choice. Based on the number of parents behind Rocky Hill Elementary who send their children to private schools for High School, they're not thrilled either. The middle school changes will be announced very soon and you can expect to be moved for that, too.

Rachel's picture

exactly which neighborhoods

exactly which neighborhoods are you talking about?

Cathy - you still haven't answered this. I take it you live in Rocky Hill. What "downtown neighborhood" are you being swapped with? And what is the result?

Ennui's picture

It does seem fairly obvious

It does seem fairly obvious that Lindsey was booted in preparation for these moves, hindsight being what it is.

Karen Carson's been on TV quite a bit lately, wouldn't surprise me if she is targeted for defeat by the folks that consider themselves aggrieved by this process. Fair or not, people associate things like that.

djuggler's picture

And "interim" management is

And "interim" management is always used to bring about chaos. If you are going to have a mass layoff, a manager from outside is pulled in to do it and disappears a short while later to let the permanent manager in. That way the permanent manager can declare "this is how it was when I came in...the interim is the bad guy."

CathyMcCaughan's picture

sense of community

I thought that since several other people already noted that Bearden High students are being sent to West and West High students are being sent to Bearden, the question was already answered. Before the 'Downtown is golden and everything in West Knox is awful' crowd attacks my wording, I do consider Sutherland to be the beginning of Downtown. Except for taking the children to the Climbing Center, we never go to that part of Knoxville. We spend a lot of time at Rocky Hill Elementary and use its' facilities for non-school related activities. We spend a lot of time at Bearden Middle and even though it is across Kingston Pike, we regularly use its' track area for the children's bicycles. We spend the most time of all at Bearden High and I love the fact that you can get there from our house without using any major roads or crossing Kingston Pike. This is our community and these are our schools. I know the teachers and the administration and I trust them. We are in an old house in an old neighborhood. We do not live in a high growth area. We should not be moved. People in the new subdivisions should be shuffled.

Paul Witt's picture

While I agree with the

While I agree with the distance issue and yes, I don't ever really get over to the area around West, I've heard nothing but good things about the school. Certainly nothing better or worse than Bearden.

I'd like to stay at Rocky Hill mostly because they have friends there. I've heard good things about both Lotts and Bluegrass so I'm sure they'd do fine there if it came to that.

For middle schools we're zoned to Bearden but if moved would likely end up at West Valley. Again, both good schools.

My concern is with staying with their friends through middle and high school. It's not likely to happen but it'd be great if it could.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

I cried yesterday to learn

I cried yesterday to learn that my Powell community is slated to lose from its eastern and southern boundaries, too (we had anticipated only my end, to the west, was to be affected). Over half of our zone is recommended to pack it up and leave.

A few years back, I led my daughter's Girl Scout troop in researching the history of our Powell schools. The project, complete with vintage Christmas tree, historical photos, and a display of our 15-page text in Powell Elementary's front lobby, won ETHS's Youth History Award that year.

Many, many families in Powell have sent their children to these schools for generations (three generations, in my own family). Our notion of where the Powell school community lies is neither recent nor arbitrary--it is grounded in the archives of the East Tennessee Historical Society and it dates back nearly 200 years.

We Are In Powell's picture

How Much Power Do We Have?

Just how much power do we have when it comes to our own children? Why do we have to let the Knox County School board members decide where our children will attend school? Is'nt this something we should have a say in? What will happen if a large number of us stick together and just say no, we are not changing schools? Can they make us change?

My wife and I chose the area we live in because our 3 children would attend the Powell schools. We did our research before deciding on the Powell schools, and were very happy with our choice. We do not have any relatives nor did either of us attend the Powell schools. Before our children became of age to attend a public school, we decided to move because we did not want them attending the schools they were slated for. At that time was when the desegrigation of schools was just starting. I dont know how many of you have dealt with this issue but it has only created more segregation within the school and not just in the comunity. This is what will be happening again if they approve this rezoning.

Now it seems our choice will be taken away. I now do not have a say in where my children attend school without moving again. What has happened to our rights as a parent? Do we need to let the school system dictate how and where we raise our children? I DONT THINK SO!!!!
Can someone tell me, HOW MUCH POWER DO WE HAVE?

Pamela Treacy's picture

Open Zones

Can we push the county to offer open zones across the board? Will that solve the problem?

AML's picture

What about this: Zone for

What about this:
Zone for Hardin Valley only for fall of 2008 - what they originally planned to do, what they originally took months to do. Then STUDY the idea of rezoning in a massive method - what they decided to "look at" in January and then suddenly did and announced this week. Involve the community in this study, do actual head counts of current high school, middle, elementary and preschoolers - drive the roads that they think that another 500 cars can make that left hand turn at 8 a.m. or can move through a subdivision road to a school at 7:30. In other words, do some research, involve the people it affects and don't just move giant chunks of a community. Do this study/research/community involvement across the board, all grade levels at once, so that it seems to make some sense as to where children go to school from kindergarten to 12th grade - not every elementary and middle school can flow perfectly into every high school.
Take a year to do it. Put some time and community into the ideas, the process, rather than just moving families, making maps and asking for input AFTER the decisions have been made. PUt the Hardin Valley zone in that was figured out in December in the fall of 2008 - and then study and plan for the rest. Don't just move 1000s of students around to justify Hardin Valley, built to relieve crowding in Farragut mostly and in Karns and Bearden somewhat.

Tess's picture

WHS

I live in Rocky Hill and our zone was changed from Bearden to West in the early 1990's. My son was at Bearden as a freshman and was moved to West. He thrived at West. Donna Wright was principal then, though. To my knowledge, West is still a very good school.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Drews at West High

My 15 year-old daughter participated in a 6 or 8 week-long project through the KC Public Library last summer called Media High. David Drews, West High's media arts instructor, led the kids in creating a documentary film on the subject of Market Square's history, then the group hosted their premiere screening for the public at East TN Historical Society.

It was a way-cool project, and David was a way-cool leader for the group. My acquaintence with him was one good impression in a succession of good impressions I've received of West High.

(Last summer's film was segment one in a series, BTW. The project will resume this summer to create Part 2, if you know interested teens. Nelda Hill with KC Public Library is likely to make some announcement soon.)

Rachel's picture

Hey, I didn't realize your

Hey, I didn't realize your daughter was part of that crew. That was a way cool documentary they did.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Not my job

Cathy: "We do not live in a high growth area. We should not be moved. People in the new subdivisions should be shuffled."

This point is key, Cathy. In my area, that PEFA study indicates that student population at Central, which uses just two portables, is expected to drop (yet their students are being pushed westward to Powell) and Powell's population, where we have no overcrowding at all, is also expected to drop 15%(yet we're being pushed westward to Karns).

Our destination school of Karns, though, is expected to grow 21%! Why on earth thrust westward the populations of two schools where enrollment is dropping!

It is not the responsibility of my children, third generation in their school community, to indirectly help populate the misplaced HVHS!

Nor have we ever, in 200 years, found Powell to lie at the I-640/I-75 interchange, as their proposed map indicates!

CathyMcCaughan's picture

Are you asking if Mullins

Are you asking if Mullins showed favoritism? I doubt if Mullins has even bothered to study the details of this plan. The haphazardly drawn lines that have children traveling too far and away from schools that are practically in their backyards is ridiculous. Mullins nods his head and sleeps soundly when parents talk during school board meetings. He was brought in to make this zoning pass and before the dust has settled, he'll be gone.

attacker's picture

MULLINS- GONE

Yes he will be gone & I hope if this passes they all will be gone, as will my community, my childrens life long friends, sport teammates mates, and our schools will be drastically different. I will have children in 2 different zones (if the grandfather clause gets approved) how fun will that be?

Bbeanster's picture

Roy Mullins is a good man,

Roy Mullins is a good man, and I've had way more than enough of these cheapshot attacks on him. Frankly, I'm just about sick of all y'all.

What the hell did west Knox folks think was going to happen when y'all were demanding that a new west Knox high school get leapfrogged to the head of the capital fund list, shoving back other communities that had been waiting much longer for new/improved schools? I've said it before, but I'm constantly befuddled by people who choose to move right smack into an overcrowded, poorly-planned urban sprawl and then wait about 15 minutes till they start bitching because it's an overcrowded, poorly-planned urban sprawl.

Roy Mullins is a smart, caring man who gets appointed to run the school system on a temporary basis every time they get their ass in a crack and a dirty unpopular job needs to be done. This mess is not one of his making, and it is unreasonable for you to be dumping this load of blame on him. Do you even know him?

Yes, "attacker," he was once upon a time the principal at Halls, which, like South-Doyle, is in a somewhat geographically-isolated location, doesn't easily fit into school population shifts. and has plenty of problems of its own - not the least of which is being an outrageous bastion of white homogeneity, But that's not Roy Mullins' fault, It's not "his" school, just because he once worked there. He doesn't live there, and hasn't worked there for many years and is not beholden to them.

it's pretty easy to remain anonymous and attack people who have to stand up there and just take your cowardly bullshit.

There's a whole lot of demagoguing going on (I'm watching this meeting), and it's not Roy Mullins doing it.

Knox Insider 007's picture

Well Good

bbeanster. You are sick of them and West Knoxvillians have long been sick of you. All West Knoxvillians take that West Shopper and send it back to the crap joint it came from.

R.Neal, why do you allow bbeanster to attack everybody that reads your forum, is she one of your administrator's?

Jeanne's picture

One woman's objective view

"What the hell did west Knox folks think was going to happen when y'all were demanding that a new west Knox high school get leapfrogged to the head of the capital fund list, shoving back other communities that had been waiting much longer for new/improved schools? I've said it before, but I'm constantly befuddled by people who choose to move right smack into an overcrowded, poorly-planned urban sprawl and then wait about 15 minutes till they start bitching because it's an overcrowded, poorly-planned urban sprawl".

Demagoguing, indeed.

Pamela Treacy's picture

As a reporter

"What the hell did west Knox folks think was going to happen when y'all were demanding that a new west Knox high school get leapfrogged to the head of the capital fund list, shoving back other communities that had been waiting much longer for new/improved schools? I've said it before, but I'm constantly befuddled by people who choose to move right smack into an overcrowded, poorly-planned urban sprawl and then wait about 15 minutes till they start bitching because it's an overcrowded, poorly-planned urban sprawl."

As a reporter you need to get your facts straight. We did not ask for a new high school We asked for a solution to overcrowding. We even offered suggestions that were less expensive then buidling a new high school. The MPC did a report that said overcrowding was going to happen at Bearden, Karns, West and Farragut. They proposed a new high school as a solution. So as naive citizens we thought they was the best option. Lesson learned: quesiton government decisions.

So maybe now you can understand why we don't trust government and their MPC reports or suggestions.

This zoning process was flawed and there are better models to follow.

And R. Neal -- you should start screening the bean. she passes to much gas!!

Bbeanster's picture

Seriously, what were those

Seriously, what were those solutions to overcrowding? At some point, adding onto a school that already has a population that is considered too large isn't a great solution.

What I recall is a demand for a new high school, which became shrill-er when Ragsdale proposed to build a new downtown library. Then he pulled the plug and announced that he favored a new high school instead, and sold his wheel tax with the promise of a new school, West Knox voted heavily in favor of the wheel tax increase. That certainly sent a signal.

Then, later, he suggested it was costing too much money, and he proposed cutting the size down from 2,000+ to 1,300, and was met by demands from the same group to build the BIG school. I think I remember Thomas Deakins being among those insisting on the "big" school option.

And what I was reacting to last night -- and I admit that I was being bombastic -- was the sound of the cheering for Buttry's proposal that came through the TV screen loud and clear. Were you for the Buttry plan? If so, how do you justify spending all this money on a facility that only 200-400 students are zoned to attend to the rest of the county taxpayers?

Pamela Treacy's picture

Cindy's Plan

Some of our ideas were document in news articles at the time. One of the ideas, we proposed creating a kindergarten center that would be less costly than a high school, then shifting all the grades down one. Mayor Ragsdale created a task force to explore options. The report that the MPC prepared suggested a new high school as the best option.

Betty, you are just generalizing how west know people voted and felt. I would to love to know how many people, who are live here today, even knew the details you are describing. First thing I heard about a downtown library was when the Mayor offered the funds to build a new high school. The library was never a hot issue for me. That was after our government offered that as a solution to a four-school problem. (Side note: why not use space in some of the empty buildings downtown for a library—TVA has an empty tower and the old city hall is sitting empty)

Last, as I communicated to Ms. Carson today, I applaud Cindy's boldness. It would have not been in the best interest to approve that motion last night. Actually, I hoped for a motion for a 30-day postponement to discuss Cindy's proposal. My support was that I like the idea of open zones and making Hardin Valley the best high school in the state.

Ms. Buttry has raised the question repeatedly -- how can you set a zone if you do not know what type of school it will be? When the KCSB postponed their decision in December is was to 1. name a principal, 2. set a budget, 3 define type of school. Only one of those items is done. Moreover, she doesn’t start until June.

Regarding the size of the school, more MPC data showed that the Hardin Valley, Karns and along the Northshore Drive in Knox County east and west of Pellissippi was expecting more growth. I sat next to Karen, Cindy at the county commission meeting supporting that this school be built for 2100 students because of that data. It makes me sick to think I did that. If the school board thinks high schools should be below 1600, we never should have been asking for 2100 student school.

So Betty that is why I am speaking out so passionately. We do not have the facts to make good decisions in this county. The folks at the MPC are mad that we are questioning their data, but it was their data that caused us to support the wrong things.

What are our educational plans and goals for this county? Decisions need to be based on those goals. If one is to keep schools under 1500 students, then we are failing. Why did we add on to Karns? None of this makes sense to me.

What I do know is pointing your finger at one end of the county does not help. You continue to make this seem like this is our problem. It is a countywide problem. A countywide group is forming to work together. I suspect you won’t’ be a member.

Bbeanster's picture

PT, first of all, I would

PT, first of all, I would love to see every Knox county high school be among the best in the state, and I apologize for the tone of the snarky post last night (although I emphatically do not apologize for sticking up for Roy Mullins whom I know to be a good and decent and intelligent man).

Here's where my problem with your position starts:

"I would to love to know how many people, who are live here today, even knew the details you are describing. First thing I heard about a downtown library was when the Mayor offered the funds to build a new high school. "

That made me suck coffee down my windpipe. What I am talking about is something that happened in 2004, not some time in the Paleolithic Age. And it was on the same ballot as the Bush/Cheney-Kerry/Edwards presidential election -- this is not some abstract platonic argument. It involved issues like regressive taxation that shifted a disproportionate share of the burden on those least able to pay, for example. If you are saying you don't care about something that involved pretty much every adult who lives in this county, how can you possibly expect anybody outside your neighborhood to care where your kids' school zone lines are drawn?

You are seriously saying that you don't remember the issue created by the wheel tax increase, which generated a countywide protest that led to hundreds of people getting involved in a petition drive that garnered more than 25,000 signatures and forced a referendum? Seriously?

The seeds of this West versus the Rest were sown when Ragsdale turned the referendum into a promise of a new west Knox school, and in effect played the western part of Knox County against everybody else -- so it shouldn't be a surprise that those of us who are in the "everybody else" category are not all that sympathetic to your zoning issues.

Rezoning is hard. But it's necessary every decade or so. Contrary to what some would have you believe, massive rezonings have happened before, and there were even more people down at the City County building for the last one than than there were last night.

The only solution I see is to do something about county government's growth "policy" (if you want to call it that), which has always been to let developers do whatever they want to do and let the market decide: infrastructure (meaning schools, roads, utilities) follows growth, or so they say.

Overcrowded schools, congested roads and increased flooding because of poor stormwater control by residential developers have been considered just byproducts of "progress," and in the end, taxpayers and homeowners and students in the public schools pay the price.

If your group wants to take on this issue -- which would require paying attention to stuff that happens at County Commission -- I'd be on board. And while I really do have sympathy for families of kids who have been rezoned more than once over the past few years, otherwise, whether somebody goes to Bearden or Farragut or Hardin Valley really isn't my concern.

Rachel's picture

What Betty said. And BTW, in

What Betty said.

And BTW, in response to (Side note: why not use space in some of the empty buildings downtown for a library—TVA has an empty tower and the old city hall is sitting empty)

You can't just put a library any old place. For one thing, books are really, really heavy. They demand a structure that is built to accomodate them. Old City Hall certainly wouldn't do that and I doubt the TVA towers would either.

Secondly, do you really think the County has enough $$ sitting around to pay TVA what it wants for the East Tower?

It's not as easy as having a magic wand, waving it, and saying "ok, we'll put that there." All kind of real world issues always have to be considered, and sometimes get in the way.

Knox Insider 007's picture

We Have Found The Problem

bbeanster said: "What I recall is a demand for a new high school." bbeanster continued with "I think I remember Thomas Deakins being among those insisting on the "big" school option."

The problem is that bbeanster is relying on her recollection and what she thinks she remembers. West Knoxvillians need to remember that she is trying to push a new West Shopper on you. Call Sandra Clark and the management of the Shopper and expose bbeanster for her anti-west knoxvillian antics and tell them we will not frequent their advertisers as long as they have a reporter on staff with anti west knoxville sentiments.

PT gets the award of the day with "And R. Neal -- you should start screening the bean. she passes to much gas!!"

Bbeanster's picture

Evidently it's killing you

Evidently it's killing you that the Shopper News is growing.
Your call to arms will probably prove about as prophetic as your prediction a few months back that we were on the verge of going out of business -- remember that?
Guess you weren't enough of an "insider" to have picked up on the fact that we were about to expand.
I feel your pain, Brian.

R. Neal's picture

West Knoxvillians need to

West Knoxvillians need to remember that she is trying to push a new West Shopper on you.

Hahahahha. Talk about passing gas!

ljr's picture

It's not as easy as having a

It's not as easy as having a magic wand, waving it, and saying "ok, we'll put that there." All kind of real world issues always have to be considered, and sometimes get in the way.

Why not? That's what they did with the new high school!

Pamela Treacy's picture

Library

Rachel, I appreciate your response. I didn't know those things and had been wondering why existing buildings do not work.

With the TVA building, I was thinking more in the terms of leasing the space.

I do not know the background on the libraby as I said, I never even knew about the proposal until the money was reverted to fund the school.

Pamela Treacy's picture

Follow Up to the Bean

Bean: “Sticking up for Roy Mullins whom I know to be a good and decent and intelligent man).” Who happen to fall asleep repeatedly during the public forum on Monday night, which did not make people feel like they were being heard.

What I was trying to explain is that I did not know there was a passion to build a library, not that I didn’t know about the wheel tax. The way I saw it was that someone who had the “facts” felt the library could wait because the “facts” said the school should come first. Do you see why I am angry? We get the blame for trusting. Well the trust is gone.

People tell us to get over it, but they are not thinking long term and understanding we are questioning the process and setting goals. More later on that. I feel totally mislead by our leaders. The “facts” are not thoroughly questioned like they should be. Not any more. How many times on blogs do you see people stating opinion as fact? Or using incorrect information as fact. Mr. Anderson did it last night – a story for another day.

I understand the increased wheel tax is a burden for some families. It went up $30 a year. How much is a carton of cigarettes or four super value meals at McDonalds? I recall the issues being more about not wanting to pay more taxes than building a library.

The seeds of this West versus the Rest were sown when Ragsdale turned the referendum into a promise of a new west Knox school, and in effect played the western part of Knox County against everybody else -- so it shouldn't be a surprise that those of us who are in the "everybody else" category are not all that sympathetic to your zoning issues.

Again, I am trying to understand the passion for a new library. So you are saying that everyone in the Eastern, Southern and Northern county was on board that a new library was the next large scale capitol project to benefit everyone. Was this something that was planned for years? I drive by the one downtown everyday, but have not been in it so I do not know its condition or space needs. Honestly, I would like to know more. I have seen many new branch libraries. Are they ineffective or unused? Honestly, I just don’t know much about libraries.

Bean: Rezoning is hard. But it's necessary every decade or so. Contrary to what some would have you believe, massive rezonings have happened before, and there were even more people down at the City County building for the last one than than there were last night.

What people are missing because the press only wants to focus on personal stories and not the real concerns, which are about the process and student welfare. Why can’t a rezoning process be more like the City of Knoxville public processes for the Southwater Front project or the Cumberland Avenue redesign? You can go online and find overviews of processes conducted by other school systems.

Setting goals for feeder schools should be part of the zoning process as well as the educational goals for the county. Feeder schools create community and parental involvement. A 90/10 split to high school is not sound. That is not my opinion but those of experts. I want to see more research into the feeder school patterns before they create this next wave of zoning.

KCS said in the high school zone proposal that the reason for a change was to fix a feeder school pattern. They said that 7 times. Then they broke what wasn’t broken in my area. Did you also know that nothing was done to evaluate the transportation costs of this plan? Mr. Mullins said they pay by the mile so it doesn’t matter. What happens with the bus driver contract expires and they want more? How is that going to affect the county budget?

Bean: The only solution I see is to do something about county government's growth "policy" (if you want to call it that), which has always been to let developers do whatever they want to do and let the market decide: infrastructure (meaning schools, roads, utilities) follows growth, or so they say. Overcrowded schools, congested roads and increased flooding because of poor stormwater control by residential developers have been considered just byproducts of "progress," and in the end, taxpayers and homeowners and students in the public schools pay the price.

Finally we agree on something – Amen! I attended the Plain Talk on Growth Conference. I thought it was amazing. Growth isn’t bad, but it must have structure and planning.

I believe we are now paying attention.

lotta's picture

Process Improvement - my 2 cents

"Finally we agree on something – Amen! I attended the Plain Talk on Growth Conference. I thought it was amazing. Growth isn’t bad, but it must have structure and planning."

Glad we have some agreement here.
Growth should be managed by process. The development process is broken and we should be looking at the big picture - most of the problems Bean mentions are a symptoms we see due to lack of process, planning and ENFORCEMENT. Too often our leaders throw big $$$ at elaborate plans that result in nothing more than a glossy report and a web page. I want a process that is implemented and enforced as designed.

zoomfactor's picture

I understand the increased

I understand the increased wheel tax is a burden for some families. It went up $30 a year. How much is a carton of cigarettes or four super value meals at McDonalds?

And you are accusing B. Bean of making sweeping generalizations?? That is a pretty classist remark.

Ennui's picture

I agree zoom, that's the

I agree zoom, that's the tack I heard Ragsdale and co use. It's demeaning.

It's also $30 of bread or baby formula.

bill young's picture

"I'm sure everyone will be upset" Karen Carson

Ms. Carson was referring to the "knotty attendence zone issue" &
went on to say "some will be will be able to look out of their
window & see Farragut(High School);although their kids may be
assigned to HVHS."

This quote is from a "hearing (august 2006) on plans for the new HVHS & rally support behind the School Board's request for an additional 6 million,from the county,to build the school for 2100 students." Mr.Deakins & Ms.Buttry were also there.

Ms.Carson,Ms.Buttry & Mr.Deakins "all agree the DISTRICT badly needs HVHS to ease crowding @ Farragut,Karns & Bearden."
To do this Ms.Carson said, "We need to cut 600 students out of Farragut."

Futhermore,"Carson & Buttry called for a vigorous turn-out @ the commission meeting;"How can we expect commissioners to meet a need
we've never ask for?"

They got the 6 mill.

What changed for Ms. Buttry?
In less than a year she went from advocating
spending an additional 6 million for a 2100 student population
to her amendment that 3-400 would attend.

Mr.Deakins agreed that Farragut was overcrowed.
Did his amendment ease the crowding?

Ms.Carson
She knew "everyone would be upset"
One may disagree but you
Knew where she stood.

The quotes are from The Farragut Press
August 21,2006

EML's picture

I think what changed for Ms.

I think what changed for Ms. Buttry was the fact she realized what an antiquated and flawed process was used and that better methods could have been used to (community involvement-not just venting sessions, Ms. Carson) make a sound plan that wouldn't disrupt so many families or communities.

ljr's picture

*Mr.Deakins agreed that

*Mr.Deakins agreed that Farragut was overcrowed.
Did his amendment ease the crowding?*

His amendment was to keep a current feeder pattern from being broken: a 90/10 split, taking approx 139 kids who have been together from kindergarten through 8th grade. This won't happen just one time, but every year as they rise to the 9th grade. When you consider sibling grandfathering, less than 40 will be mandated to go to HVHS. I do not see how that small a number would have any effect on either high school if they wanted to stay at FHS as part of their community.

Pamela Treacy's picture

ok-zoom and Enn

Ok, bad example. But people blow $30 on a lot of things. Would spending the money on a new library have made the tax better?

I would prefer not to tax the truly needy. So how would you handle?

Would a property tax increase been better? Curious what you think? What should we do about sheriff's pension? I am getting off topic, so if you are interested -- maybe we can move this to another topic: Taxes.

Bbeanster's picture

The wheel tax was chosen

The wheel tax was chosen specifically because it taxed the poor.

Ragsdale and other supporters openly sold it on the basis that "everybody pays" -- meaning that the tax on a McDonald's fry cook's $300 hooptie is exactly the same as that on Greg Isaccs' $100,000 Mercedes.

When it became clear that people didn't want the wheel tax -- and that became VERY clear when a guy named Gary Sellers started a petition drive that caught on like Krispy Kreme Donuts -- Ragsdale rammed the alternative property tax plan through commission, making the referendum vote (which Ragsdale's people had NEVER thought would happen) an either/or proposition. The voters were told that if they didn't pass the wheel tax, they were assured of getting a property tax. He bypassed the school system's capital improvement list and threw in the new west Knox school as a sweetener. The wheel tax passed overwhelmingly in west Knox County, and failed pretty much everywhere else.

This is a seriously truncated version of what happened, but I believe it's pretty accurate.
It caused a lot of hard feelings, and was probably the beginning of the end of Ragsdale's popularity.

Pamela Treacy's picture

Definition needed

how do you define west knox county?

ultron's picture

"Ok, bad example. But people

"Ok, bad example. But people blow $30 on a lot of things. Would spending the money on a new library have made the tax better? I would prefer not to tax the truly needy. So how would you handle?"

(cough cough) Income tax (cough cough).

Pamela Treacy's picture

Are you talking state income tax?

Ultron,

are you really talking state income tax?

ultron's picture

Sure. Or a county option

Sure. Or a county option income tax. But I don't know if you have that in Tennessee.

Or are we better off charging poor people $30 a wheel?

knoxnative's picture

Disappointed

I think I am disappointed most because we're still stuck with the status quo. Not much has really changed with this vote, and we had a chance to do something unique with Hardin Valley. Someone at the forum said it best - we spent $50 million and should expect a 21st century school system. What we have, though, is a 19th century, top down, paternalistic school bureaucracy - ain't gonna change the way we do stuff around here, huh uh.

A real disappointment for me was Indya Kincannon, whose naivety and lack of political acumen cost the Spring Hill neighborhood and Fulton High School dearly.

I think she commited political suicide with her "yes" vote and there are a lot of angry people in her district who will do their best to prevent her re-election. I know I am very disappointed in her. I'm sure she's a good well-meaning person and all that, but still disappointing as a school board rep.

She had the chance to do something progressive, vote against the status quo, get the community involved, do some comprehensive master planning, make sure our numbers really work, do a transportation study to see what this is going to cost, explore options like open zoning, specialized schools, all the progressive ideas I've heard her talk about before, and she blew it with her "yes" vote. We needed her and she let us down. Guess her *progressiveness* was just talk and got lost in her zeal to protect Fulton.

I expected a "yes" vote out of most of the rest of them because involving the community and doing something progressive is the last thing many of them want, and I think Mullins can be included in that list. Bean, you may think he's a fine gent, and maybe he is, but *progressive* is certainly not the word for him - here's an instance where *old school* is really applicable. And he did sleep through public input both times.

Indya had the chance to get her Spring Hill amendment supported but you can't vote against everyone else's amendment and expect them to support yours. Politics 101.

The sad thing is that she had a good argument about Fulton needing those stable Spring Hill households. But because she didn't have the sense (or the pull) to go to Mullins beforehand like Sam Anderson, or to get support from her fellow commissioners by not torpedoing their amendments, which wouldn't have cost her a thing, the Spring Hill neighborhood got rezoned to Austin East.

Austin East is a non-performing school under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) like every other high school in Knox County except for Farragut, Bearden, Gibbs and Powell. Under federal law, a parent at a non-performing school can request a transfer to one of the high schools that does meet the NCLB standard, and the school system has to grant the request. The difference between A-E and Fulton is that A-E is also a Title One school, which means that not only can they request a transfer, but Knox County has to provide transportation to the new school.

So, Indya's lack of political skills hurt Fulton, won't help A-E, and will cost taxpayers more for transportation. Might help the Spring Hill kids who transfer to Gibbs, though that's a long bus (or taxi) ride every day.

There were others whose attitude and maneuvering and bull-headedness was much worse than Indya, of course, but I expected more from her.

I hope enough people watched the debacle on TV, and like the county commission appointments, get pissed off enough to do something about it in our next election cycle. Sadly, I think Indya will be a casualty, and hopefully some of the others as well.

Bbeanster's picture

Odd to me that you would

Odd to me that you would single out Indya for special abuse when Bratton and Buttry behaved the way they did. Deakins got lots of concessions for Farragut prior to the meeting, but I attribute that more to having politcally-powerful constituents than political acumen (although I do think he's a smart guy)
Indya is a political neophyte, but she has been a good school board member. I don't know who you are or where you live, but I live in her district and know quite a few people and have not heard such rumblings -- except for the person who swerved their car at her when she was riding her bike home from the meeting and yelled "Bitch!"
People do and say a lot of things when they're anonymous.

Rachel's picture

First off, I completely

First off, I completely agree that the rezoning should have used a much better process. A more inclusive process would have 1) made more folks aware of how difficult it is to balance everything, 2) resulted in more buy-in, and 3) resulted in a better product. The South Waterfront process definitely resulted in all three. But it didn't come cheap - the City shelled out a fair amount of $$ for it. Not saying it wasn't worth it - it was. Just saying that cost is always something else to throw in the mix.

On a completely different subject - the Knox County Library System. I work for Friends of the Library (FOL), I'm in the downtown library every day, and I can tell you that it is packed to the gills. The system maintains 17 branches and also includes the Beck Cultural Center and the McClung Collection. There isn't another library system IN THE COUNTRY that comes close to doing what we do with a comparable budget. It's really amazing when you see it up close.

Some #s: (Statistics refer to fiscal year 2005-2006)

FINANCES -- $11.5 million budget, less than 2% of county budget; $2.20 per capita or DEAD LAST among 14 peer libraries; SERIOUS FUNDING SHORTFALL for materials. Funding has been flat or near so for several years, while costs continue to go up.

CARD HOLDERS --119,589 Knox County Citizens or 30% of the population

CIRCULATION -- 2.66 million items checked out, 12.2% increase over last year

COMPUTER USAGE -- A 104% increase in the last five years; 360,000 individual sessions this year

REFERENCE SERVICES -- 270,138 reference questions answered; databases accessed 114,000 times

CHILDREN'S SERVICES -- 1,927 programs for children; 10,581 children participated in Summer Library Club

SPECIAL PROGRAMS -- Funded privately or through grants; Movies on Market Square, Children's Festival of Reading; Knoxville Jazz Festival; Media High

A foundation is in the process of being formed to raise private money for a new downtown library. The hope is that eventually we will be able to get one through a private-public partnership.

And as a final, somewhat self-serving, plug - if you support libraries and reading, please consider joining FOL. Check us out at (link...)

P.S. Randy, where have the editing options disappeared to??

Cletus's picture

If you check out KGIS,

If you check out KGIS, Spring Hill and the area around it is represented by Sam Anderson, not India Kincannon, so perhaps some of your position might change a little, knoxnative.

knoxnative's picture

Spring Hill

Indya's amendment was for Spring Hill, Cletus, because those students are zoned for Fulton, which is in her district, and she wanted to keep them at Fulton.

knoxnative's picture

Expectations

I am calling out Indya because I expected more from her. She didn't have to go along, and she did. I certainly wouldn't call her a "bitch" and would never condone a physical attack. As I said in my post, I'm sure she's a good person, just don't think she served her district OR Knox County well last night.

And just so you know *bbeanster* this is Lisa Starbuck speaking, and I know what I'm talking about when I say there are angry people who are now former supporters.

Bbeanster's picture

Well, Lisa, I live in

Well, Lisa, I live in Indya's district and have been out and around in my neighborhood today and haven't experienced this groundswell. And I doubt this turmoil is going to be of much benefit to her all-but announced opponent, a retired administrator who will be hard-pressed to convince anyone that he would have voted any differently.

And as I said, it's interesting that Buttry gets a pass, since she refused to vote with with Rex Stooksbury, which would have given him the five votes he needed to protect the Powell community.

R. Neal's picture

except for the person who

except for the person who swerved their car at her when she was riding her bike home from the meeting and yelled "Bitch!"

Whatever anyone might think about Indya's vote, that is despicable and totally uncalled for. In fact, it amounts to criminal assault. Cops shoot people on the spot for doing that to them.

(Cool that she rode a bicycle to the meeting, too.)

knoxnative's picture

I Don't Give Any of Them A Pass

NONE of them get a pass from me - not a single one of them had an amendment or even a motion to do the RIGHT thing - postpone this insanity, start over and DO IT RIGHT.

Of all of them, I thought Indya was the most likely to get it - that the process was flawed, so the result would be flawed. Their data was questionable at best; they didn't have a real plan, and they didn't have a handle on the true costs. Not only that, they had political problems - not the least of which was a new school that nobody nearby wanted to attend.

And I'm not talking about the "all but announced opponent" but rather someone who is both progressive and MOST IMPORTANTLY, politically savvy enough to get things done.

knoxnative's picture

To Qualify

I would also add that I like Indya personally and think she is well-meaning, but I have to stick with my assertions about her effectiveness.

calloway's picture

except for the person who


except for the person who swerved their car at her when she was riding her bike home from the meeting and yelled "Bitch!"

Christ ... the kids of whoever was driving that car have a lot more to worry about than those pesky gangbangers at AE.

EML's picture

"Deakins got lots of

"Deakins got lots of concessions for Farragut prior to the meeting"
Betty, I don't have the political connections you do (although I am one guilty of living in Farrgut where anyone can buy off their local politician and live in a McMansion-you get the sarcasm)-Honestly though, can you explain what you mean by this statement? What concessions are you talking about? I still see my kid going off to a school with 34 other kids he is supposed to know, but in reality only knows 2 out of a potential 1400 when he hits high school. I guess if I knew what kind of school it would be and was guaranteed there would be all programs available, most of us would feel a little better. But thinking outside the box in respect to programs (marching band on Monday nights during a JV game-sorry Ms. Carson, it doesn't work for me) doesn't give my kid much comfort either. Of course, she'll be watching the Admirals on Friday night, now won't she? I don't see any concessions, so please enlighten me.
Also, I agree with Lisa. I have a lot of respect for Ms. Kincannon. She is working very hard for Fulton, but she didn't do well for them last night by not playing ball.

Pickens's picture

vote

So EML and knoxnative, sounds like you two are using code for "swapping votes" when you talk about people on the school board not 'playing ball' or not having 'political accumen.'

Care to try to explain that away?

EML's picture

Not trying to explain

Not trying to explain anything away Pickens. After watching the County Commission fiasco and the rezoning circus, it's obvious that's how it must work around here.

Pickens's picture

So EML you're saying she

So EML you're saying she should've vote swapped?

knoxnative's picture

Hmmm

I don't think the words "political acumen" are code words for "vote swapping."

From the American Heritage Dictionary
ac·u·men n. Quickness, accuracy, and keenness of judgment or insight.

Sandra Clark's picture

Carson, Kincannon and Murphy

Showed political courage if not "acumen" on Wednesday.

Many feel that Deakins had already won when the first plan was tossed in favor of a county-wide rezoning plan. The pain was spread, for sure, but still Deakins voted no.

Serving on the school board is a thankless job and a political dead-end. -- s.

bill young's picture

School Board

I agree with sandra about carson,kincannon & murphy.

Jimmy Carter is a former school board chair.

ljr's picture

Explanation

"After watching the County Commission fiasco and the rezoning circus, it's obvious that's how it must work around here."

Proposal is made by Lindsay. Sends Ms Carson's neighborhood to HVHS. New proposal is made by Mullins. Ms. Carson's neighborhood stays at FHS. Proposal to be voted on comes back with certain adjustments to accomodate certain board members - who then vote no on all other amendments, but yes on proposal. And you're telling me there were no back door deals?

CathyMcCaughan's picture

I'm sorry, but I can't

I'm sorry, but I can't consider Dr. Murphy a good school board member. He completely neglects KAEC. He ignored parents instead of listening and disagreeing. He was rude and disrespectful at forums and this week's meetings. Ms. Buttry answered every e-mail I sent her. Mr. Bratton called me on the phone and asked me if he could help me understand the proposal. Ms. Kincannon may have made some choices I disagree with, but she actually thought long and hard before she made those choices. In the end, they all refused to compromise with each others' amendments and punished everyone because they were angry that the 50 million wasn't put in their own district.

Rachel's picture

In the end, they all refused

In the end, they all refused to compromise with each others' amendments and punished everyone because they were angry that the 50 million wasn't put in their own district.

Really? That was the sole reason? How convenient it must be to read minds.

I agree with Sandra. Serving on the SB is a thankless job. Some of the members do it with more thought and grace than others, but even the best are going to get pilloried.

As far as I could tell, some of these folks were basically grandstanding; some were only interested in protecting their own district, and some were trying to do the best they could. In the end, none of them get much respect.

Sandra Clark's picture

Jimmy Who?

Bill writes: Jimmy Carter is a former school board chair.

Well, that proves it! We all know what happened to him! -- s.

Bbeanster's picture

So Indya didn't "play

So Indya didn't "play ball"?
Please tell us how the others "played ball" without violating the sunshine law.
All this saber-rattling from people who neither live in this district nor have children in school here has a strange de'ja vu quality to it. I remember back in the 90s during the last big rezoning battle, there was a guy from the 8th commission district vowing to beat Madeline Rogero when she ran for re-election in the district that contains Fulton. Didn't work out too well for him.

Rachel's picture

I found it somewhat amusing

I found it somewhat amusing and somewhat sad to hear so many folks talking about how "we are going to vote them ALL out of office next time." Ri-ight.

I'll be waiting to see how many folks from say, Farragut, turn out to campaign for a condidate in Sam Anderson's district, or Indya Kincannon's.

Heck, most of them couldn't even FIND 4th & Gill.

And yeah, that's a rap on Farragutians. Sue me. At least 20 times a year some west Knoxvillian informs me "I've lived in Knoxville all my life and I've heard Island Home is nice, but I'm not sure exactly where it is."

Bbeanster's picture

Is the woman who was on TV

Is the woman who was on TV last night talking about getting candidates to run for MPC posting here?

Rachel's picture

Is the woman who was on TV

Is the woman who was on TV last night talking about getting candidates to run for MPC posting here?

Shoot, I missed that. That's hilarious.

knoxnative's picture

Not Hilarious

I can assure you that nothing about this was hilarious - sad maybe, but not funny. A group of involved community people from several different parts of the city and county, many of whom DIDN'T necessarily have a dog in the school fight so to speak but did have A LOT of time and effort invested in public participation and community advocacy, tried to make this rezoning a meaningful process and a first step in educating people what coming together across district lines could mean for the future. Pointing fingers at other communities and lack of cooperation between districts is what keeps people in power who shouldn't be there.

Bean, was your sabre rattling comment directed at me? If so, you're barking up the wrong tree.

I do understand you want to defend Indya, but I'm just telling you what I'm hearing from frustrated people in the Alice Bell community and North Hills. Her comments in Scott Barker's story redeem her somewhat, but I don't see how she can say this and vote the way she did.

"Kincannon said she'd like to see interim Superintendent Roy Mullins get help from the public in developing the plan.

"I definitely wasn't happy with the (high school rezoning) process," she said. "I would like to involve the community more, not only to get their ideas but also to explain the constraints we're working under.

"I'm also open to hiring a consultant to come up with a plan or work with the community to come up with three or four options," she said.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

MPC

Bean: "Is the woman who was on TV last night talking about getting candidates to run for MPC posting here?"

Gimme a break. I didn't give a flip to talk to the reporter, and I guess they ran that because it was the MOST articulate statement they got out of me.

I'd gone on four hours of sleep a night for three weeks, I hadn't eaten all day, I'd sat through a five hour meeting, and I was standing there in my stocking feet, holding my shoes in my hand. Sigh.

(I think she asked me what would happen next, and I said we would see lots of people run for school board, then I paused, then I said "and MPC," without referring to that process as being one for which an interested party would seek appointment. OK, garbled.)

Bbeanster's picture

Heh, that was you? I

Heh, that was you?
I confess, I was making a sandwich and listening, not watching, by that point.
It was pretty funny.

Rachel's picture

My point here is that many

My point here is that many of the folks who were worked up about this (and I'm most definitely NOT including Tamara and Lisa, who involve themselves with their community and with the broader Knox County community on a regular basis) cared only about what zone their own child was in.

And yes, of course they should care about that. But the vast majority of them don't care about the rest of the system, don't care about the general quality of education in Knox County, don't care who runs things. At least, not enough to get involved when it really counts - in ongoing issues, on the ground, all the time.

I just can't see most of those indignant parents working in a political campaign in their own district, much less another district. Heck, I bet a lot of them don't even vote.

That's terribly sad.

Wrt to MPC, Tamara I can understand how you misspoke (and I didn't know it was you), but even getting different folks appointed to MPC wouldn't have changed the study (although it could help with a host of other things, including development issues). The study was done by the staff; the commissioners had zilch to do with it.

Cletus's picture

Of all the accusations of

Of all the accusations of lack of political acumen being thrown about, sounds like knoxnative (aka Lisa Starbuck)doesn't have political acumen either; she could even get a vote for anything she wanted.

lotta's picture

Rachel makes a good point

What's clear is the folks who are running things see lots of angry crowds. They come and go like clouds in the sky. Making a change in Knox county leadership calls for "strategery", collaboration, and focus. It takes time and patience. There's been talk of a county-wide coaltion among those crying out for a change in government but it won't happen unless we stop the bashing and get on with it.

I completely understand the frustration and disappointment folks are feeling after the vote but there are many other issues out there that need our attention. How many of you are going to hang in for the long haul?

HolstonHillsBlogger's picture

We as voters need to go to

We as voters need to go to the polls in 2008 & 2010 & fire Sam Anderson, Indya Kincannon, Dan Murphy, Karen Carson and Jim Williams. The school rezoning travesty should have never been allowed to happen.

Unfortunately, school board members weren't included in the Tennessee Supreme Court's interpretation of Knox County's term limits in its Charter. Thus, it will be up to the voters to term-limit these 5 school board members themselves.

Sam Anderson's agenda is to prop up a failing school to retain his past glory of his state championships as their football coach. Austin-East should have been closed & its students rezoned to West, Fulton, Gibbs, Carter, & South-Doyle. This rezoning won't put one more student at A-E.

Under federal law, all parents in Holston Heights, Chilhowee Hills, & Spring Hill can simply refuse to send their children to A-E & by law, these kids must be provided transportation to continue to go to Carter, Gibbs, & Fulton, respectively. That is what will happen, unless these parents decide to home school them, send them to private or Christian or Catholic schools, or just move out of their neighborhoods.

All the school board did in the case of Northeast Knoxville is to devalue the residential and commercial property in the Asheville Highway, Rutledge Pike, & Love's Creek corridors. The A-E zone now extends all the way to East Towne Knoxville Center Mall.

Drive through the neighborhood around A-E. The kind of overgrown lots, boarded up houses & businesses, crime, prostitution, drug dealing, gang infestation, drive-by shootings, etc., that you see occuring every day & nite around that school will now extend all the way to the Holston River, to I-40, to the mall, etc. The Knoxville police will have to start patrolling a much wider area to keep citizens safe.

Expect to see many "for sale" signs go up in Holston Heights, & especially in Chilhowee Hills, & Spring Hill. The term, "there goes the neighborhood," has never been more apropos.

Indya Kincannon lacked the courage of her convictions. When her proposed amendment to keep Spring Hill in the Fulton zone failed, she failed herself to keep faith with her constituents & vote "NO" on the overall plan, as they expected & needed her to do.

Jim Williams should have stepped up to the plate & strongly protested this social re-engineering that is going on at the edge of his district. Of course, none of the people who vote for him are being rezoned. They are all in Sam Anderson's or Indya Kincannon's districts. Thus, his hands-off approach allowed this to happen. He fiddled while Rome was burning. He is as much to blame for this happening as anyone. His vote & his comments as a former coach & principal could have made a huge difference.

Dan Murphy & Karen Carson are lost causes. They are obviously going to support the administration no matter what. They are the main leaders of the school board & their constituents need to turn them out of office.

The elections in 2008 are huge for Knox County. They will determine whether or not we ever get metro government, which we desperately need. City government is in great shape. County government is in total disarray, shambles, & turmoil. It is a total farce.

We as voters must retake control of our government. We have to vote the rascals out of county commission & the school board. If not, this is just the beginning of more to come in which the will of the people will be totally ignored.

The sum total of this is that you will start seeing more vacancies in East Towne Mall, less commercial development in the area around that mall, & trashier neighborhoods extending out toward it. More people will be moving into the Carter & Gibbs communities, exacerbating the overcrowding at Gibbs.

Fewer & fewer students will attend A-E. They could move the zoning line all the way to Sevier County, Jefferson County, & Grainger County, & not one more student would attend there. It simply is a failed school, not just a failing one. The test scores there lag far behind all other high schools.

The so-called "magnet" concept has also failed. Everyone in Knox County can attend A-E & be provided taxpayer-funded transportation to do so, yet virtually no one outside the A-E zone does. Neither A-E nor the magnet concept are viable & neither ever will be, no matter how much money & effort the school board throws at either.

Look for a complaint to be filed with the Office of Civil Rights and perhaps a lawsuit in federal court, too. A-E will remain a 90%+ minority school. That should be unacceptable to everyone who truly wants to desegregate our school system countywide.

Why not put the A-E students in better environments in the 5 high schools that surround it? This would give those students a chance to do better in school, to motivate them to compete with other students whose test scores are higher than theirs, to further desegregate all 5 of those other high schools, which will continue to become more & more segregated until A-E is finally closed. It is inevitable that A-E will close. It is only a matter of when. When school starts in 2008, it will have less students in it than it does this year. Enrollment will continue to decline no matter what the school board keeps trying to do.

Government cannot dictate where people live. They will choose to live wherever they want & will continue to send their children to the schools they want. This futile effort of trying to force unwanted changes on the community is a total, dismal failure, & it is one more example of how the government that governs least governs best. The heavy-handedness of the school board will not & should not be forgotten.

The taxpayers are going to be saddled with more transportation costs with this rezoning. It is shameful that we have allowed our so-called representatives to turn this into a ridiculous circus. Knoxville as a whole is suffering from this process.

The vast majority of the parents who live in the present A-E zone wish they could move out of the area & give their children better educational opportunities & a better environment in which to learn overall. That is why so many people are moving out of there if & when they can.

If you polled the parents whose children go to A-E & gave them the option of having their child attend any one of the 5 high schools that surround it, most would choose to send them elsewhere. Many want to go to Fulton now but have been denied transfers.

The long range plan for our high schools in Knox County needs to be to close A-E now & to close Fulton over the next decade. The school administration's own projections are that both of them will continue to lose population. One isn't viable now & the other won't be viable in 10 years.

The plan to build a "university" high school downtown with an enriched curriculum to replace A-E, Fulton, & what was once the Rule district is one that needs to be revisited. It would call upon UT's vast resources in providing greater educational opportunities for inner-city youth.

No amount of rezoning or putting more money into the magnet programs or even open zoning is going to help A-E or Fulton. The handwriting is on the wall for both of them. The school board simply needs to face reality.

It appears that only Cindy Buttry, Tom Deakins, Rex Stooksbury, & Robert Bratton are properly representing their constituents & listening to the will of the people. Hopefully we can elect more like them to reverse this mess next year.

However, Buttry should have at least voted for all of the amendments before she voted against the overall plan. By opposing all of the amendments, she allowed the plan that finally passed to be unamended. An amended plan would have been a better one than what passed. I agree that Indya wasn't as politically savvy as she should have been in getting more support for her amendment to keep Spring Hill in the Fulton zone, but she should have combined her efforts with Jim Williams & gotten him to support a move of Chilhowee Hills from Gibbs to Carter instead of from Gibbs to Austin-East, which would have kept everyone reasonably happy in Northeast Knoxville except for Sam Anderson.

smalc's picture

"Drive through the

"Drive through the neighborhood around A-E. The kind of overgrown lots, boarded up houses & businesses, crime, prostitution, drug dealing, gang infestation, drive-by shootings, etc., that you see occuring every day & nite around that school will now extend all the way to the Holston River, to I-40, to the mall, etc. The Knoxville police will have to start patrolling a much wider area to keep citizens safe."

That's one screwed up piece of logic.

Bbeanster's picture

--That's one screwed up

--That's one screwed up piece of logic.--

Consider the source.

Pamela Treacy's picture

The blessing behind this

Rachael

This was the second punch to people in Knox County. First being the events leading and following January 31.

More eyes are open ever than before.

I have been fielding phone calls from people for the last two days who want to stay involved, encourage a better process for the next zoning, elect better officials, and to just be better citizens.

This has caused a great deal of interest in county affairs -- our backyards have grown.

I was copied on an email Indya wrote to one of my neighbors. She wants a better process and discussion on open school zones.

I am looking forward to moving to see change.

Please keep encouraging others -- even when you don't agree. One thing I didnt' like about all this was it seemed like people tried to bully and discourage citizens from speaking out. Please do let this group be part of that. The wbir blog on this is UGLY. Yes, much worse than anything posted here.

Thanks.

Rachel's picture

PT, I hope what you say is

PT,

I hope what you say is true. I hope lots more folks will get really involved. But as others who have slogged it out in the trenches will tell you, it takes more than raw emotion, which is a lot of what we're seeing right now.

I also hope the school system will "see the light" and move to a better public process for rezoning k-8. But I think that's unlikely without a) someone in a leadership position pushing them, and b) lots of support from the public. Indya seems like the person most likely to push for this. So maybe folks should forgive her for her "sins" and get behind making this happen.

Good luck. I know a bunch of parents in my neighborhood who will be happy to join in; they've been meeting monthly to talk about school issues now.

Pamela Treacy's picture

Indya and others

About a half hour ago, I just got super frustrated and anger when my puppy who peed not in one spot but all over the floor -- one ten foot line of pee.

Thanks. Your email just changed my mood. Thomas, Cindy, and Indya are open. Robert thinks we want a committee. We really want something more like the Waterfront project. Maybe I need to use that as an example the next time I talk with Robert.

If you haven't read it before, it looks like we plan to start a chapter of Parents for Public Education. This would definitely be a county wide effort.

Thanks for changing my mood.

R. Neal's picture

Just random off-topic

Just random off-topic speculation, but I'd hazard to guess that a) your dog is sensing stress and frustration and is stressing out a little him/herself, or b) your dog feels neglected because of all the attention paid to outside issues he/she doesn't understand, and is exerting a little dominance.

If it is a puppy that is not housetrained, in my experience the best thing to do is to start making a ruckus equivalent (in dog terms) to bringing down the Wrath of God upon them, scoop them up (even if in mid-pee and you get it all over you) and take them outside and show them where they are supposed to do it, and praise them profusely for doing it there. Repeat about seventy times, problem solved.

And never use newspaper or indoor "pee mats", because it just teaches them it's A-OK to pee inside, which should be forbidden. (They will never understand why it's OK to pee in one place and not another.)

Projecting all of that on the School Board is an entirely different matter, which I will leave to you and others to sort out.

(And I'm no Dog Whisperer, and I don't play one on TeeVee.)

Pamela Treacy's picture

Puppy

Thanks for the advice and humor!!

Nobody's picture

Get over it

I don't understand why everyone is so upset over something so stupid. "we want a new school to reduce over-population...but we don't want our little babies to have to move" It doesn't matter what school a child goes to or how much they are given, it is up to YOUR child to make something out of what they have. I grew up in a under funded, low-income school all my life and it sucked, but big woo. I survived, I met amazing people, I am in college, and have already started a career that makes me happy. I have connections to wonderful teachers who I credit a lot of my success to, and I would not change where I grew up or what school I went to at all. Stop blaming everything on the system, the school, the government, and the state and look at your kid. Life is not going to hand them apples and oranges just because Mommy wants them to. Let them deal with what they have. Besides, it builds character.

djuggler's picture

"Get over it" Funny. That's

"Get over it" Funny. That's what Dan Murphy suggested.

It's hard to take "Nobody" serious when you are responding to a 2 year old conversation and completely don't understand the issues. Just hold off on this one for about 3 years when it comes around again.

And for the record, the rezoning was a lot less about moving students than it was moving money from West to East.

Doug McCaughan
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