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SERC seeks to alleviate short-, long-term needs

Town’s School Education Relations Committee members made headway in goals: short-term paper drive and long-term “Take Home Tuesday,” at its Wednesday, March 3, meeting at Town Hall.

SERC members plan to coordinate a paper drive for Farragut-area schools through the help of area businesses. Seeing this as a win-win situation for the retailer and schools, customers will be asked to purchase a ream of copy paper to donate to area schools.

The paper temporarily will be held at the stores and transported by SERC or PTA members, delivering the reams to area schools.

While continuing to focus on bigger needs such as Knox County Schools, “We may not be able to write a check for one big thing, but we can help with paper,” committee member Shannon Warden said.

Last fall, Farragut Intermediate School Principal Kay Wellons was the first to inform the committee of its need for paper. Farragut Middle School, Farragut Primary School, Farragut High School and Hardin Valley Academy principals all have said paper is a constant need.

Committee member Heather Marshall spoke with Walgreens store manager for all three area locations. He assured her that if given enough advance notice, a lower-cost paper may be secured to benefit the customer.

“He said, even if no one wants to do it, he would like to have a paper drive and sell lots of paper,” Marshall added.

Kroger may participate in the fall, as long as there aren’t any other programs going on, Marshall said.

Farragut’s CVS Pharmacy and Turkey Creek’s Walmart want to participate as well. However, Walmart would need corporate approval before cashiers could ask customers to donate a ream of paper.

The committee’s many hours of research may benefit other Knox County Schools long term.

SERC chair Margaret Johns said KCS Partners in Education representative, Scott Bacon, was excited about the paper drive and hopes it will help other Knox County schools in the future, after SERC has established its paper drive as a success.

In other matters, Committee members discussed how to ensure all supplies collected go to Farragut schools for its “Take Home Tuesday” plan, including HVA, as some Farragut residents attend there.

“Take Home Tuesday” is a borrowed idea Marshall brought to the committee’s attention. On Tuesdays, students would receive a slip of paper informing parents of a different classroom need each week. Students are rewarded for showing the need to their parents and also for bringing in the need – such as pencils, paper and scissors.

Though SERC is focused on helping the needs of Farragut-area schools, members have said they anticipate its successful programs to be used by KCS as a whole.

Johns said she believes that once a Knox County-wide volunteer program is established, that will help alleviate a lot of the needs heard from Farragut-area principals.

Warden was tippedoff about, a nationwide Web site connecting donors to classrooms in need of project supplies.

Supplies are delivered to the classroom, and students, in turn, give back to the donors through “thank you” cards and photos of the supplies in use. If money is donated, a detailed description of monies spent also is given to the donor. Utilizing this program was put on the long-term needs agenda.

“We want to get some short-term wins while focusing on long-term as well,” Johns said.

Town Administrator David Smoak attended for the first time.

Alderman John Williams has not yet been replaced. Williams informed the committee weeks ago that his work schedule did not permit him to attend SERC meetings and he could no longer be the alderman representative for SERC.

Johns will address the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at its meeting Thursday, March 25, regarding SERC’s progress. Farragut-area principals are expected to be present for the BOMA meeting to receive the Town’s annual checks for their schools.

The next SERC meeting will be at 2 p.m., Wednesday, April 7, at Town Hall.


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