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Rezoning meeting draws hundreds

Bus routes, psychological well-being, opportunities and distance were all discussed at a Knox County school rezoning meeting, Monday, April 22, at Farragut High School.

Interim superintendent of Knox County Schools Roy Mullins said six Farragut subdivisions are proposed to be rezoned for Hardin Valley High School.

Beginning fall 2008, freshmen and sophomores in these areas would attend HVHS, while older students will have the option to continue going to Farragut High School being grandfathered, he said.

“It’s never easy to rezone,” he added. “But it’s wonderful to be at a school system that’s growing, and not one that’s going the other way.”

Gordon Michaels spoke first for the parents, and asked about the safety of the proposed bus routes to HVHS.

“Have you had traffic safety engineers, and the state of Tennessee has traffic safety engineers certified, review these routes so you know if these routes are safe?” Michaels said.

“We have not had safety engineers look at these routes. Unless [roads] have been identified by the county traffic engineer as not usable for bus service, we’re capable of routing buses on those roads to get to school,” Mullins said. “We do not identify what is a safe or unsafe road. That is not our responsibility.”

Heather Marshall said, “We need to think responsibly about safety for our kids first. We have a safe, quick route, that’s cost


The effect on Farragut Middle School students being separated from their classmates and sent to HVHS also was a topic of discussion.

Pamela Treacy said her “estimate is that the percentage of students going from F-M-S to H-V-H-S is about ten percent.”

She said she spoke to psychologist and sociologists who suggested this could have a negative psychological impact on the students because they would not have the benefit of being part of the larger group.

“We feel that we have such a small group of kids being zoned for there, that they’re not going to have friends and a support base,” Treacy added.

Mullins said, “Those are the opinions of those specific psychologists,” when he was asked for a response later in the meeting.

Lucy Vara said she came to Farragut for the sense of community and so her children could benefit from FHS’s art and athletic programs.

“You can’t guarantee that of all these students are going to have the same opportunity when they get to Hardin Valley,” she said.

“I understand that sense of community,” Mullins said. “This is a rare opportunity for children entering that school to have an experience they’ll never forget … They’ll be able to say ‘I helped pick the mascot,’ ‘I helped pick the school colors.’”

“You can open Harden Valley as a viable high school and you can reduce overcrowding in Farragut without touching our neighborhoods,” David Rexrode said. “We don’t want to go, you don’t need us. Leave us out please.”

Yvonne Kidder said, “Not only are you separating our community, but you’re separating our families. I’m going to have to somehow manage to be in two places at once, in another town. Now you’ve forced me to let my sixteen-year-old drive to and from school, to work and to after-school activities.”

Judi Corridean said, “I will have an eleventh-grader and a tenth-grader. Do I send my boys to two different schools?”

“There is a discussion among the board members,” Thomas Deakins, District 6 School Board member, said. “I would support the grandfathering of siblings, but you have to cut it off at some point.”

Families who have the option to remain at the original school will be notified after the new zones have been determined.

“Once this zone is in place, we will then go back and send out survey documents to all the students that could be affected and ask the parents to respond whether or not they will go to their zoned school or whether they will grandfather back to their old school,” Mullins said.

The school board will discuss the proposal Monday, April 30, and vote Wednesday, May 2.


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