Fri
Apr 6 2007
03:09 pm

Tamara Shepherd e-mails:

I learned just today [ed. note: yesterday on Thursday] what the full scope of this year's Knox County Schools rezoning effort will be: 11 of 12 county high schools, with corresponding changes in middle school and elementary school lines! I spoke by phone with Rick Grubb, Assistant Superintendent of Transportation for KCS, who says a 12,000 piece mailing is underway now. Staff will work tomorrow (although they're closed for Good Friday) and Saturday (also closed, of course), completing the mailing on Monday. All victims should be in-the-know by Tuesday, April 10. It's the biggest rezoning effort here in many years.

Apparently, it involves every Knox County school except South-Doyle. Tamara also notes that there is no public discussion planned for eight of the nine board meetings, and that the public will only have 48 hours to respond before the final vote on May 2nd.

Schedule and more info after the jump...

April/May Schedule for School Board Mtgs
(Rezoning/Oper Budget/Cap Budget)

The School Board will decide this month where the Hardin Valley High School zone line will be and what surrounding schools (elementary, middle, and high) will also be impacted. All zone changes adopted will become effective for the Fall, 2008 school year.

Per the schedule of upcoming events shared at the 4/2 School Board Work Session, the following meetings on the subject are planned:

Wednesday, 4/4 at 4:00 pm & 5:00 pm--Joint Meeting at 4:00 pm, School Board and County Commission, to discuss Operating Budget (Small Assembly Room, City-County Bldg.), followed by School Board Regular Meeting at 5:00 pm (Large Assembly Room, same location). A public forum is part of this second meeting.

Tuesday, 4/10--Per School Board Chair Karen Carson, school system central office to announce their recommendations on rezoning (School Board still must approve those) through a 12,000 piece mailing to students/families potentially affected by rezoning at 11 of 12 high schools (all but South-Doyle). Also per Carson, mailings will go to families of elementary, middle, and high school students, all. Watch your mailbox.

Wednesday, 4/11 at 9:00 am--Joint Meeting, School Board and County Commission, to discuss Capital Budget (1st floor Board Room, Andrew Johnson Bldg.). A public forum *is not* part of this meeting.

Wednesday, 4/18 at 5:00 pm--School Board Mid-month Work Session (changed location for this month only is to Large Assembly Room, City-County Bldg.). Acting Superintendent Roy Mullins will present the central office's recommendations on rezoning. A public forum *is not* part of this meeting.

Monday, 4/30 at 5:00 pm--School Board Work Session (changed location for this month only is to Large Assembly Room, City-County Bldg.). A public forum *is* part of this meeting.

Wednesday, May 2 at 5:00 pm--School Board Regular Meeting (usual location, Large Assembly Room, City-County Bldg.). The board will vote on rezoning at this meeting. A public forum *is* part of this meeting.

Additionally, Acting Superintendent Mullins is still in the process of setting up three meetings at which he will discuss operating budget matters with School Board members three-at-a-time. It is not yet clear which School Board members will attend which of the three meetings, but the dates/times of the meetings will be Monday, 4/9 (1:30 pm - 3:00 pm), Tuesday, 4/10 (9:00 am - 10:30 am), and Wednesday, 4/11 (10:30 am - 12:00 pm), all in the Superintendent's Office conference room. These small-group meetings are also open to the public.

Finally, at the 4/2 Work Session, School Board Chair Karen Carson suggested that in any School Board district including schools the central office recommends rezoning, the School Board member representing that/those schools should make a point of scheduling his own district-level or school-level meetings with constituents. Contact your School Board member to urge him/her to do so.

Anyone wishing to speak at the 4/30 School Board meeting to include a public forum may register in advance by phoning School Board Secretary Janice Myers at 594-1630, or may register on the day of the meeting, up until five minutes before the meeting is scheduled to begin.

114
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Tamara Shepherd's picture

To McElroy last night

To McElroy and education editor Lola Alopo at 3 am last night:

Dear Mr. McElroy,

I write you in your capacity as Knox County's recently-crowned champion for better public participation in local government. On the heels of our Knox County Commission's botched process for appointing eight new Commissioners to replace those term-limited, our Knox County School system is now engaged in a similar closed-door, top-down process to quietly undertake the most extensive rezoning of school-aged children to occur in Knox County in many years.

Although this massive school rezoning is expected to impact 11 of 12 high school zones across the county, and to subsequently impact corresponding middle school and elementary school zones, the vast majority of our residents are completely unaware of the pending changes. Rick Grubb, Knox County Schools' Assistant Superintendent for Transportation, confirmed for me today that he and his staff will work on Good Friday, Saturday, and next Monday to discreetly assemble a 12,000 piece mailing to families affected in this decision made exclusively by the school system's central office personnel.

Even my community's school board member, Cindy Buttry, has expressed surprise at the haste with which these personnel have previewed to her their recommendations, then immediately turned to assembling their mailing, as Ms. Buttry had imagined that she, too, would be allowed enough time to respond to those recommendations.

I also attach for your review the Knox County School Board's schedule of upcoming meetings. You will note that of nine meetings scheduled over the next month, only one meeting will include a public forum at which citizens may offer counter-proposals. In fact, that single April 30 work session at which citizens are afforded an opportunity to respond occurs just 48 hours before the final vote School Board members will tender on rezoning proposals.

Mr. McElroy, we both understand that school rezoning can be an emotional topic for affected families. I am proud to report, though, that my Powell-area neighbors copied here are already hard at work researching the needs at our sister-school, Central High School, where overcrowding has resulted in a recommendation from central office personnel that children in both our school zones be moved westward. What I would impress upon you, then, is that families are capable of working together across school zone lines to look for mutually satisfactory solutions to our problems. Why are our school system personnel intent on their discreet mailings, when they can allow our School Board members to aid and direct affected families in our own study of viable options?

Meanwhile, I was pleased to receive an invitation today from former Commissioner John Schmidt to serve on the 25-member "One Question" steering committee he and former County Executive Tommy Schumpert are forming. You can bet I bent his ear a few minutes this afternoon on the subject of fostering better public participation in those major decisions undertaken by our county's public schools.

Because "public" means "open to all persons," and "owned by a community," right?

Sincerely,
Tamara G. Shepherd
4612 Meredith Rd.
Knoxville, TN 37921
947-0660

CL's picture

I got a similar email from

I got a similar email from Tamara yesterday. (She was looking for a study I had referred to a while back.) One of the big things about this rezoning is that they will be moving kids westward. Some kids from Central will be moved to Powell and some kids from Powell will be moved to Karns because Central is overcrowded. Now, from what I remember of the study, Halls has quite a bit of room and should be able to handle the some kids from Central.

Why is this being done? I can't think of a logical reason for moving kids westward which might explain why it's being done so quickly and quietly. The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if this might be the real reason they got rid of Lindsay. Does anyone think he would have been agreeable to doing this?

Rachel's picture

Moving kids west when the

Moving kids west when the far west schools are already overcrowded sounds totally weird to me. I sure will be interested in how this turns out.

And Tamara, sorry not to call you back. Kind of a busy week. I did jot down your phone #; am glad to have it.

CL's picture

I just came across this.

I just came across this. It's a study released last October that has projections for future enrollments for all KCS through the 2016/17 school year.

(link...)

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Another odd move

CL: "I can't think of a logical reason for moving kids westward..."

Me neither, CL, and Powell High has only 1200 students now. I'm not aware of how many Central High students they want to move in here (Powell), but neither that *westward* movement not that pulling from our small high school seems to make sense.

In another oddity, a neighbor tells me that Rex Stooksbury told her some Northwest Middle students in the vicinity of Norwood (city) will be rezoned to Powell Middle (county), pulling out of the city population.

These three rezoning moves appear to do the opposite of what is needed for the city, in terms of working harder to populate schools "inward," not "outward."

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Rezoning Westward

I suppose folks won't take too much notice of this thread until those letters begin landing in their mailboxes early next week, so I'll "bump" the topic to share this info from the Partnership for Education Facilities Assessment (PEFA), October 2006, shared by CL earlier (and a big "thanks" for that, CL).

From the PEFA report solicited by School Board (see charts under "Presentation to the Knox County Commission and Knox County School Board," lower right corner of your screen on report's home page)look at what this *westward* move of Powell students to Karns means:

1) Of twelve high school zones in Knox County, the Karns High zone saw more building permits issued than any other zone over the last five years (nearly 2900).
2) The Karns High zone ranked #1 for "Development Activity" over the last five years.
3) Looking forward, the study's "moderate growth" scenario offers the following school enrollment projections over the next ten years (2006-2016), all of which project higher growth rates in Karns schools than in Powell schools, without rezoning east-lying student populations, as follows:

Karns High, from 2053 to 2481 (+20.8%)
Powell High, from 1153 to 968 (-14.6%)

Karns Middle, from 1156 to 1489 (+28.8%)
Powell Middle, from 861 to 813 (-5.6%)

Karns Elementary, from 1079 to 1214 (+12.5%)
Powell Elementary, from 752 to 821 (+9.2%)

So, you tell me: Does Knox County Schools need to rezone *any school population* westward into Karns???

(Has anyone else here spoken with their School Board member to confirm rezoning in their area? I have now received confirmation from Carson, Buttry, Stooksbury and Kincannon that all School Board members have met with Superintendent Mullins, so they all know the plan. I hope others are also making inquires? Share, please?)

CL's picture

One thing that may explain

One thing that may explain the rezoning is the need to fill the new Hardin Valley High School. They could be trying to keep everyone in the City of Farragut in Farragut High.

Didn't Lindsay's plan have kids in the Bluegrass area going to HVHS? They could be moving those kids to other schools, like Bearden, and they would need to move some Bearden kids to another school.

The Dude's picture

I thought I saw where

I thought I saw where everything north of I-40 (north of Farragut) was going to be zoned for Hardin Valley HS. Farragut south of 40 and west of Pellissippi was Farragut HS, no? A very small portion of Campbell Station Rd north of 40 is "city of Farragut" but I'm not sure if they are Hardin Valley or Farragut High, and I'm sure this is an issue with these people. And East of Pellissipi to the Bluegrass area, yes, was zoned, per a KNS article, Hardin Valley HS, which brings up a distance factor.

What pisses me off about this is the fact that the Hardin Valley may not have athletic fields. I realize that schools are there to educate and any school sport is a truley a perk, but I don't see why some kids shouldn't have atheletic facilities. How is this new school going to have any form of school pride? I don't see why Knox County doesn't, as well, expand and improve what they have, so the overcrowded school can take on more students.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Again, please?

Dude: "I don't see why Knox County doesn't, as well, expand and improve what they have, so the overcrowded school can take on more students."

I didn't quite understand what you meant here, Dude. I'm vigorously protesting my potential rezoning from Powell into Karns' "big school" area (before and after HVHS opens), so I'm hoping you don't mean that these "big schools" SHOULD take on more students? Thanks.

Mark Siegel's picture

This won't affect us, but

I guess it could affect my child's friends, who are on the edge of her zone and may get zoned out of her district.

EML's picture

Massive rezoning

To address what The Dude had to say: The zoning you are talking about was Lindsey's plan he presented last fall. That has been scrapped. Kids down in Northshore area that were tapped to go to HVHS will now go to Bearden. Five Farragut neighborhoods: Ridgeland (north of I-40), Orchid Grove, Sedgefield, Saddleridge and Fox Run (all west of Everett Road to Loudon Co. Line) will go to Hardin Valley. Only 200 kids live in these five neighborhoods. Letters should be in mailboxes on the 11th alerting people as to where they are rezoned. Fall will bring rezoning countywide of Middle and elementary schools.
The Admin. has violated its criteria it said it would use in rezoning by: not looking at safe transportation (Watt Road), keeping feeder schools together (those Farragut neighborhoods now attend all Farragut schools from K-12, whereas some other neighborhoods staying in the FHS zone go to A.L. Lotts, West Valley Middle) I'm not clear on the logic of taking 200 kids out of Farragut schools and shipping them 11 or so miles to Hardin Valley when Farragut schools are only 4 miles from Watt Road area. Not sure how that will work in Powell/Karns area as well with feeder schools, safe roads and community imput, etc. This is not on the radar yet, but certainly will be come April 11th by several communities.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

What is known now

EML: "Not sure how that will work in Powell/Karns area as well with feeder schools, safe roads and community imput, etc. This is not on the radar yet, but certainly will be come April 11th by several communities."

EML, the move of families west of Clinton Highway from Powell to Karns has already been confirmed, in advance of the letters arriving, by Carson, Kincannon, Buttry, and Stooksbury.

Bill, 11 of 12 high schools will be rezoned, all but South-Doyle, according to Carson at the April 2 work session last Monday night.

As I indicated previously, I spoke with Rick Grubb at KCS Thursday, April 5, and he was working on the mailing that day (as well as on Good Friday and Saturday). I would think some letters will begin arriving to us today.

Again, have any here phoned their School Board members yet? I would like to understand plans for other areas, and our board members are able to tell us now.

bill young's picture

inward

When you say inward;does that mean moving zones toward the central city,A-E,Fulton & West?Are these 3 schools overcrowded?

bill young's picture

will

will A-E,Fulton,West,Carter,South-Doyle be rezoned?

R. Neal's picture

Tamara's info says every

Tamara's info says every school except South-Doyle.

EML's picture

Tamara, I outlined the plan

Tamara, I outlined the plan that has been confirmed for Farragut area. Karen Carson has said she will have a fourm for public input for her district on April 19th (place and time to be determined). All school board members have been advised to do so since, as you stated, there will only be two public forums before it is voted on (April 30 and May 2) May 2nd is the day the board votes on the plan. After the plan is presented on April 18th though, word has it, it will not be changed much if at all. Seems the 19th "public discussion" is a moot point.
I haven't had time to look into your area as far as feeder schools are concerned, but do they keep your kids together with the new zoning? Just curious, as that does not seem to be a concern with some of the neighborhoods in the West end.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Cluster patterns

EML, presently all of Powell Elementary and west-lying parts of both Copper Ridge and Brickey feed into Powell Middle. All Powell Middle students move into Powell High intact.

It is my understanding that under our rezoning plan, all Powell's students sent to Karns would move through the three Karns schools intact.

Our concern for the pending high school zone change, though, is that Karns High presently has 2053 students and is projected (in the PEFA study) to pick up 438 more over the next ten years, for a total student population of 2481.

Yes, HVHS will absorb some of these, but since Powell High is just 1153 students, Karns would need to push 1328 students into HVHS, now and over the next ten years, for our children to attend a high school at Karns comparable in size to their Powell school! We don't think School Board plans to empty that many from Karns!

(Actually, I guess Karns would have to push MORE THAN 1328 students into HVHS to make Karns "Powell-sized," since my calcs don't take into consideration that Karns plans to "import" some students, too!)

I've been meaning to ask--exactly how many Farragut students will be removed from Farragut High per this mailing? Surely you don't mean that only 200 total will be removed from Farragut? They want to move more than that many WESTWARD from here!

CL's picture

Current schools zones

If you want to see the current school zones, use (link...) . Under the header, on the right side, is a link to "Knox net Where?". Click on that and when you get there, you will have to click on the "I accept" to enter the site. After you are in, go to the top right of the page where it says "Select a map theme" and use the drop menu to select "High schools & zones". A map of Knox County will come up that has all the high schools zones. You can then use the buttons above the map to zoom in or out for more detail.

Mark Siegel's picture

Middle and Elementary Schools

How does this tie into middle and elementary schools?

Is that an unrelated rezoning, or is there going to be some kind of trickle-down effect from this rezoning?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

To Mark

I missed your question, Mark. The changes made to high school zones this year on May 2 will be effective for the 2008-09 school year (when HVHS opens).

School Board members say that they *may* finalize middle and elementary zone changes by May 2, but if not, those corresponding changes will be made next spring, also effective for the 2008-09 school year.

The letters going out now will go to elementary, middle, and high school students all, per Karen Carson, as changes to those middle and elementary zones are imminent.

EML's picture

Tamara, Farragut now has

Tamara, Farragut now has 2309 with the intention of bringing it down to around 1800 in order to keep existing programs in tact. I believe the new zoning will take the kids from the town limit line (Canton Hollow Road) to Pellissippi to HVHS. How far south down Pellissippi that goes, I'm not sure, but there were 400 kids in the Northshore area that were in HVHS zone under Lindsey's plan that will now be zoned for Bearden. There are 3 or 4 neighborhoods up Canton Hollow that are still zoned for Farragut under the new plan (Woody Road,etc.) These neighborhoods are not in the Town limits and do not attend all other Farragut schools. Yet, the four on the far west side, in the town limits and feeder schools are getting yanked. Is there logic on that one???(or in your situation either!)
I see your point on your end about the crowding issue-that's where we are now. We need HVHS, but we also needed another school in the far southwest sector (Choto) 10 years ago, but nothing was done, so 200 kids on the far west end of the county are paying the price now. They will go to school all their lives with their friends then be plopped in a high school where they are not part of the community and have never been. Good luck in your fight. I think our end would love to help your community, but we have our own battles to fight, sadly and there isn't much time.

Paul Witt's picture

I wouldn't mind rezoning so

I wouldn't mind rezoning so much if they'd just grandfather in kids that already are attending the school and possibly younger siblings that are already in. It's just not fair to rezone a child that's been at a school for 3 years already.

I'm anxiously awaiting the details on this. We live right on the edge of our elementary school zone.

AML's picture

questions

It's curious to me how suddenly the board wants to move on this, seeing as how they were supposed to have decided on the Hardin Valley zones by December originally, if I recall correctly.
I have a question for EML - do you know more exactly (neighborhoods or more location) where in the Northshore area are the 400 kids that were going to go to HVHS under Lindsey's plan and will now go to Bearden? Is that the Gettysvue/Westland Drive area east of Pellissippi or are they crossing west over Pellissippi to move kids to Bearden (which they have never done and I assume by their comments about "natural boundaries" they would not) If they're moving 400 kids into Bearden from an area west of Pellissippi, that is a new area for that school which means they gotta move 400 out from somewhere and move them to I would guess Hardin Valley or West.

AML's picture

At previous meetings

At previous meetings regarding the Hardin Valley zone school administrators said they would grandfather in students who would be seniors and likely juniors when Hardin Valley opened in 2008. They did say that moving high school seniors is particularly difficult - they are the ones that are elected to leadership positions in clubs, sports, and have already been applying for scholarships, etc. I would certainly hope that the school system would grandfather in juniors and seniors and perhaps younger siblings who are already attending school then as sophomores or freshmen.

rightwinginsider2's picture

school rezoning

Will anyone finally get it? Just how ridiculous is to have government dictate where you send your kid for an education? If you had a meaningful plan for school choice, you would not be subject to the arbitrary decisions of government bureaucrats.

Educating your child is the most critical responsibility of a parent, yet we allow government to make most if not all the decision about it. WAKE UP PEOPLE! Your children do not belong to government!

Tamara Shepherd's picture

WATE-TV announces changes in plan?

Our Powell group was fortunate to catch the notice of WATE-TV through my comments here. Reporter Adam Longo called this aft, and they led the 11:00 newscast with a quickly-gathered group of about 30 on my back porch.

Longo explained to us earlier this evening his understanding from Russ Oaks at KCS that the rezoning plan to be voted on May 2 will address 6th through 10th grades, with changes effective Fall, 2008. He said Juniors and Seniors as of Fall, 2008, then, will be "grandfathered."

It isn't yet clear to me, then, why both Karen Carson and Rick Grubb have said this week that families of elementary students will also receive letters this week. Presumably, their rezoning will take place Fall, 2007, also effective Fall, 2008? I'd like to confirm details with Oaks in the morning.

Also, on the newscast, Longo said that the plan originally called for zone changes at 11 of 12 high schools, but now calls for changes at 10 of 12.

I very much want to think that my community's Powell High will be exempted, then, since ours is a small-ish high school originally slated to merge into a much larger one, and since this westward move makes so little sense (I may not have mentioned, either, that Powell High has no portable buildings and isn't at all overcrowded). The matter of which second high school is now exempted from the plan is also one Oaks might confirm in the morning.

I'll certainly share answers on these matters here, as soon as I can.

metulj's picture

"Your children do not belong

"Your children do not belong to government!"

How true! Now exactly who do they belong to?

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

CL's picture

The rezoning plan was the

The rezoning plan was the top story on WVLT last night, too. They said the plan would be posted online as soon as the letters hit the mail today and that they would have a link to it from their website.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Clarification from Karen Carson

Karen indicates by e-mail this morning that I need to post a clarification to Knoxviews. Our complete exchange is below.

----- Original Message -----
From: Karen Carson
To: Tamara Shepherd
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 6:30 AM
Subject: Re: Rezone Powell WESTWARD???

Tamara,
While following your comments on Knoxviews I note that you have referenced me twice as stating that elementary rezoning letters would go out this week also. That is incorrect and not something that I have ever stated. What I did state to you on the phone was that letters would go out to parents of children K-12 for the high school rezoning (meaning that even parents of kids in the primary level grades are affected by the high school change and have a right to be notified by letter). Please make sure that what you attribute to me is correct, there are already so many assumptions out there that are not based on fact.
Thanks,
Karen

Thank YOU, Karen, because this has been a point of confusion for me. I understood Rick Grubb to also have told me that. I'll look again at my Knoxviews posts, but I think I indicated my confusion in my most recent comment there, and indicated, too, that I wanted to call Russ Oaks for clarification this morning.

Are you not at liberty to post that correction at Knoxviews yourself, right now? Frankly, hearing from our School Board members would have been a great help this past week! I'll copy and paste your phrasing to Knoxviews right now, so that I don't misstate you.

Meanwhile, is Adam Longo at WATE correct in that zone lines for grades 6 through 10 will be determined May 2? Also, is he correct that you are now looking at changes to 10 of 12, not 11 of 12 high schools? Which high school is this second exempted one?

Apologies and thanks,
Tamara

AML's picture

Tamara, When the reporter

Tamara,
When the reporter told your group that the rezonings would be effective for grades six through 10, does that mean for children who would be in those grades NOW or those grades in the FALL of 2008? And I'm wondering if that means middle and high schools?? Boy, I'm confused too! Thanks for any clarification.

AML's picture

Just to clarify my earlier

Just to clarify my earlier question - the current 10th graders would be the seniors of '08, therefore, they would be grandfathered as I understand previous information. So would the rezoning be effective for grades 6-10 that are in those grades in the fall of '08? the ninth graders currently would, again be jrs in 08, and i think i am counting correctly, and would also be grandfathered. see how confused i have gotten?

CL's picture

There's a new article at

There's a new article at KNS.
(link...)

The 2nd high school zone that won't be changed is Halls High.

rocketsquirrel's picture

and Rule

and Rule High sits empty. hilarious.

CL's picture

The plan has been posted on

The plan has been posted on the KCS site.

(link...)

Greg Mackay's picture

Bearden

I can hear the Bearden High football band from my house and they moved my whole neighborhood to West High. ????

The Dude's picture

Tamara Shepherd, when I said

Tamara Shepherd, when I said expand, I meant Knox County needs to physically build on to the schools they already have. It seems like Farragut has 2300 kids and many of them want to stay there.

CathyMcCaughan's picture

Bearden to West and West to Bearden?

Greg - We can hear the band at the High School, too. Our neighborhood is being sent to West while a bunch of West students are being sent to Bearden. This plan is awful.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

West Powell seeks help from 3rd Dist, yet schools lie in 7th

Cathy, our Powell community wound up with the same back-and-forth on our eastern boundary (which we hadn't even understood was at risk of change). We are asked to send some Powell to Central, and receive some from Central to Powell.

On our southern boundary, which has been Callahan Drive, the proposal is to extend the line south to the I-75/I-640 interchange, capturing students from Norwood Elementary and Northwest Middle. These communities have never, in 200 years, been considered part of Powell!

Meanwhile, Cindy Buttry will meet with those of us on the western end of our school zone, the only zone line we were aware might be at risk, tomorrow evening. We are grateful, as our Powell school zone lies in three different school board voting districts and the Powell schools themselves do not lie in Cindy's 3rd voting district, since district lines were redrawn in 2001, following the census.

Many school zones spill into multiple voting districts this way, which makes it harder to get an audience with one's board representative in some cases.

LAM's picture

Rezoning Maps Posted - knoxschools.org

Check out the new rezoning maps on knoxschools.org. They're ridiculous! Also, it states in the first few paragraphs of their site that these changes will take place in the '08 school year and will affect "current" 7th through 10th graders. That means the current 7th graders by that time will be 9th graders, and the current 10th graders will be SENIORS! Surely they will consider some kind of grandfathering process (if this passes). The thought that they could actually consider sending seniors to a new high school is absolutely beyond belief!

And to all concerned about elementary and middle schools, they're to follow and I doubt it's going to be any prettier than what they're proposing for the high schools ... maybe worse! All indications are that the plans for the elementary and middle schools will probably take effect in the same school year ('08) if the school board gets their way. God bless us all!

CathyMcCaughan's picture

Powell

Tamara - I'm so sorry this is happening to your community. You deserved to be treated much more intelligently than this deceitful, sneaky, unfair plan.

rocketsquirrel's picture

new blood

perhaps Tamara will consider running for school board. I can't think of a more passionate person who might represent the needs of kids. time to cut the bureaucracy downtown at the KCS headquarters, get them out of the AJ building, and return power to the parents and families.

Pamela Treacy's picture

Regarding Dude's comment on size

Regarding Dude's comment on size --There is much debate among the school board members and the education community about school size. Several want all our high schools around 1500 students. However, we do not have the funding to build a high school for every 1500 students.

Dude -- I agree with you. Farragut is a huge community, much larger than the Town of Farragut. Many would prefer to split the campus (underclassman and upperclassman) than have a smaller FHS and ship their former admiral pals to Hardin Valley. Other areas in Knox County might prefer a school of 1500 to maintain their rural style of community. That works too. This should be about community choice. Not one size fits all for the entire county.

First, we (as citizens) need to clearly define our community borders. It seems the school adminstration is not aware of them and the school board through zoning is going to create new ones. It may not have been the intent of the rezoning process, but it is the result. When those of us first affected by this spoke about splitting up our community, we got little sympathy from the rest of the county. I wish I could count the number of comments that mention they do not want to see their community split up. That is why so many of us are shocked at the illogical choice the school board made to build a high school in Hardin Valley when it was needed along Pellissippi and Northshore -- in the community that had the need.

The rezoning of our high schools is not just about education but about the very fabric of what defines each community in Knox County. We must have strong communities so we can improve our school system and restore integrity to our government.

Our county commissioners need to get involved with this process. We (as a county) need to work together. Today the school board asked the county commission to support their rezoning plan. The same plan that has not officially been presented to the school board yet. But they want the county commission to support it. The county commission needs to remember that this is the same school board that brought them a poor location to build Hardin Valley -- a $50 million dollar decision. Then the school board said growth was so rapid the school must be built for full capacity rather than 1600 students at proposed by Mayor Ragsdale. If I sat on county commission, I would make the school board go back and check all their data when they came to me for a decision. Twice they have come and asked for the commission to approve a bad choice.

The entire rezoning process should be designed to get the community together to create solutions. Envision a summit styled workshop to create multiple solutions by all members of the community. Each table(with a mix of folks from around the county) work together to create their own zone map. Let the parents who know the areas best contribute in a meaningful way.

I agree with Tamara Shepherd's comments in the News Sentinel. These actions were conceived behind closed doors between each school board member and the administration. While that does not violate sunshine laws, it does hurt the spirit of those laws. Why wasn't this proposal discussed at any of the work sessions or school board meetings before being released to the community? Instead, the zones are released before this is even presented to the board in a public setting. It seems like the school board took lessons from our county commissioners.

Why did they only send letters to people who were affected by the proposed zone? Does that mean there will be no changes and the public forums are just happening to make us feel like we have a voice? It has to be the plan. Because how would you explain the process to someone who did not get a letter and was suddenly effected during the 12-day period when the board is presented the proposal and votes. Are the folks who didn't get letters feeling safe right now? Do they even know what is going on? How are they going to feel if they get zoned out of thier existing high school with two days notice?

This is another political black eye for Knox County. Officials who forgot the meaning of public servant.

Citizens -- take charge -- remember to vote in the next elections. Better yet -- RUN for office!!

Rachel's picture

The rezoning of our high

The rezoning of our high schools is not just about education but about the very fabric of what defines each community in Knox County.

Really? Where was your concern for "community" when Knox County south of the river was left with one high school and one middle school?

Don't bother answering. The answer is that all the west Knoxvillians who have been bleating about the fact that their kids might get rezoned because they got a new high school could care less about communities in south or east Knox County.

And BTW, I do understand this is traumatic for students. The six high schools in the county I grew up in were consolidated just before my senior year - with no advance notice. That is, we went home for summer break with no idea we'd be consolidated before fall. We had six senior class presidents, six year book editors, etc. It was hell.

Seniors and probably juniors should definitely be grandfathered. And everyone should take a hard look at where the new zones are. BUT... although I'm sorry to sound harsh (and Tamara, this isn't directed at you), I'd like to see one person on this thread act like they cared about the totality of the educational experience for ALL Knox County students and not just about their own little corner of the universe.

cmayes71's picture

So upset over these changes.

I have three children who have been in the Powell school system since kindergarten. One just toured the high school and registered for his classes for next year. He came in from school today and looked at the Knox county schools website and saw that if the proposed rezoning takes effect he will be sent to Karns. We are considering moving in order to keep them in Powell schools. My voting will definitely change in the next election.

Is there a petition going around against this? If so, would it do any good?

Pamela Treacy's picture

We do care.

Please don't sterotype us as a group. No one likes when people do that to them. It's not kind. We do care. I had a similar experience growing up.

That is why several of my comments are directed to create a better process to get community feedback before these types of things happen.

In bed last night, I thought we should first create a zoning map that reflects the perfect world. Who should create it? A forum of communtiy volunteers as a way to provide feedback to the school board and adminstration.

Then we should overlay the high schools and feeder schools. People want to have strong communities. Each feeder school district for each high school should blend. This is a problem in many parts of the county.

Then we need long range planning to keep communities together -- additions, new schools -- should be within that school pattern.

I'm sorry this is happened to you. I hope you will continue to speak up about this, because evidently it has left deep wounds. I have personally heard several board members and school adminstrators say --- they make lots of noise but they forget about it. You are a great example of someone who didnt' forget about.

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