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Doors could open on FHS, HVA interschool transfers

Knox County Schools officials are mulling the possibility of town of Farragut students being transferred back to Farragut High School to alleviate overcrowding at Hardin Valley Academy.

“Hardin Valley is going to be overcrowded, or pretty close, so we’re looking at offering transfers to students who are already at Hardin Valley or are rising freshmen. It would be a transfer from Hardin Valley back to Karns or Farragut,” Thomas Deakins, Knox County Board of Education District 5, said.

“This is something we’ve been looking at because it’s been known that Hardin Valley was going to be right at capacity or over capacity,” Deakins said.

Word of the option has traveled quickly among HVA and FHS parents.

“It’s interesting that the School Board has recognized they made a mistake and are trying to fix it. It’s enlightening, I actually praise the Board,” said Mike Such, Saddle Ridge resident and parent to an HVA and rising ninth-grader.

Though Such indicated he is glad his daughters may be given an option to transfer to FHS, he said, “It is disappointing to my wife and I that they won’t be going to the same high school.”

He expects to have his daughters in different schools. Rising freshman, Abigail, plans to attend FHS and Courtney will continue to be an HVA Hawk.

However Such asks, “What color should I wear when FHS and HVA play each other [in a sports contest]?”

Still, Such commends HVA principal Sallee Reynolds, who took the initiative to fix her school’s problem of overcrowding.

“I give her all the credit in the world, offering solutions to the overcrowding,” Such said.

Parent of a grandfathered FHS student Pam Treacy said, “Since 2005, there has been such a long transition process and personally I just want to see it come to some kind of stability. Either all these kids in these neighborhoods are going to go to Hardin Valley forever and you’re going to have a school big enough to accommodate them or you’re going to rezone them back to Farragut and have them in the right size school and accommodate them there.”

Russ Oaks, KCS chief of staff, said rezoning is not on the table.

“We want stability, because stability means stronger communities, which means stronger schools,” Treacy said. “This is unfair for the families who have adjusted.”

Vicki Grillo, parent of a rising HVA freshman, said, “I moved to Farragut because of the schools, and then we were rezoned to Hardin Valley. What are you going to do? You can go crazy or make the best out of a situation.”

For the last two years, Grillo has been preparing her daughter to attend HVA.

“That seems to be where she wants to go,” she said.

Deakins said, “Each transfer is looked at by a case-by-case basis. Just because you apply for a transfer doesn’t mean you will get it 100 percent. There’s a good chance obviously, but we would still need everyone to go through the process.”

Because KCS currently is mulling over the transfer option, four transfer spots are all that are open now.

KCS Supervisor of Enrollment Brian Hartsell said, currently, “we will [select transfers] based on the four seats we have available at Farragut.”

According to Hartsell, after that spaces could only open if FHS students applied to transfer to another high school or if the KCS officials open a transfer period for HVA and FHS to alleviate HVA’s overcrowding.

Within the “next several weeks,” Oaks said he plans to have more information about the potential proposal that may allow more students to attend FHS.

As school enrollment changes, the allotted number of teachers may be adjusted as well.

Deakins said the staffing formula is still the tool used to determine the amount of teachers HVA may gain and FHS may lose. That number probably won’t be known until May or June, he said.


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