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FHS plans for cuts


Farragut High School is coming to grips with the possibilty that it may lose five teachers while Hardin Valley Academy may gain 13.

“We’re in a major crunch on the funding level,” Thomas Deakins, District 6 Knox County Board of Education member, which includes Farragut and Hardin Valley schools, said.

Staff cuts are based on student population: HVA’s student population is growing, FHS’s is declining.

“The last place I really want to see cuts is the classroom, teachers,” Deakins said.

At FHS, “We’re hopeful that we will not have to cut the [proposed] five teachers,” Deakins added.


FHS principal Michael Reynolds said, “We certainly understand the deficit of $19.2 million. Everyone has to do their part.”

“Principal [Reynolds] knows his school, population, course load. He’s given an allocation and has to decide how to staff that,” Deakins said.

“[KCS is] doing it based on a staffing formula. If you have 1,700 students, you can’t have a staff for 1,900,” Deakins added.

Reynolds said, “It will present challenges and difficulties. The superintendent, his staff, and the School Board are working to find some solutions for our situation.”

In order to alleviate FHS’s overcrowding, some previously zoned FHS students were sent to HVA when it opened.

Some others were zoned to Bearden High School, Deakins added.

Therefore, as FHS’s student population declines, so would its budget for teachers.

FHS has seen, and plans to continue to see, a decrease in incoming students, Reynolds said.

“We’re looking for a solution to accommodate both [FHS and HVA],” Reynolds said. “We may have to cut classes or programs.”

Visual arts, performance arts and technical programs tend to be hit first, he added.

FHS does try to find businesses or churches willing to compensate for programs that could be potentially lost.

Reynolds said he looks for teachers with a work ethic such as those who have worked with FHS’s rookie robotics team. Teachers gave many hours each week “off the clock,” to give back to the school and more importantly, the lives of the students.

“Those are the kind of teachers that we want,” Reynolds said.

HVA may gain up to 13 teachers if the proposed budget goes into effect.

The academy started the 2009-2010 school year with an enrollment of nearly 1,786 students.

HVA is losing a senior class of approximately 250 for the 2010-11 school year. Although 500 students are incoming, HVA’s net gain will only be around 250.

The new positions would be filled “across the board. The positions I am asking for cover academics as well as electives,” HVA principal Sallee Reynolds said.

HVA partners new teachers with more seasoned teachers, usually at a 3:1 ratio, Reynolds added.

“When you have more teachers, it gives you more opportunity to look at data the students are producing to make some really good decisions. It provides more in-depth conversations,” she said.

To cut costs, elective and some general classes will be available at 7 a.m.

Primarily for junior and seniors, those enrolled in new 7 a.m. classes will have to provide personal transportation.

The required classes will be available throughout the day.

 

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