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Deakins out, Carson in
Farragut School Board representatives to shift

Knox County Commission voted to adopt on first reading Knox County Redistricting Committee Plan 1A, which moves School Board representatives but keeps Farragut whole.
The recent redistricting plan adopted by County Commission on first reading has left some parents in a tizzy, since the plan means Knox County School Board chair Thomas Deakins no longer will represent Farragut students.

Plan 1A, which was adopted by Commission in October, more closely aligns School Board and Commission districts.

“So if you vote in the 5th Commission District, you’ll vote in the 5th School District,” said commissioner Richard Briggs, District 5 (which includes Farragut).

The idea to align districts was at the heart of all four redistricting plans bandied about in recent months in an attempt to lessen confusion for voters. For example, a voter could live in the 5th Commission District but the 6th School Board District, which would be the case for someone who lived in Farragut and was represented by Deakins.

But the change doesn’t mean less confusion for Deakins, who lives off Grigsby Chapel Road.

“I live in Farragut. My children go to school in Farragut. And I will not be the School Board member that represents Farragut,” Deakins said.

Deakins will remain the 6th District School Board representative, but Farragut will be moved to the 5th School Board District. Karen Carson is the 5th District’s School Board representative.

Redistricting is not rezoning.

“I won’t be moving to a district; I will just be districted out. ... So I would live in the 5th [Commission] District but represent the 6th [School Board] District. How confusing,” Deakins said.

In another odd turn, Deakins will be able to vote for the 5th District School Board representative when that position opens in 2012. Deakins’s term ends in 2014. He said he won’t run again.

“I’m term-limiting myself,” he said.

Deakins said he would regret no longer representing Farragut.

“I’ve made a lot of relationships and have a lot of trust going between the principals and the teachers, and they feel they can come to me with issues. ... And now I’m going to have to learn a new area,” Deakins said.

Commission still has to approve the redistricting plan on second reading in November, and Deakins advised anyone unhappy with the plans to call their commissioner.

In the 5th District, that would be Briggs, Deakins said.

For his part, Briggs acknowledged the relocation of School Board members was the greatest weakness of Plan 1A, but he stood by his vote for it.

“It has everything to do with Farragut,” Briggs said.

Both plans 1A and 2A (the latter of which Briggs initially supported in a defeated Commission vote) would have moved Deakins, but kept Farragut in the 5th Commission District, where it’s been “literally forever,” Briggs said.

The redistricting plans that kept Deakins as the Farragut school board representative would have moved Farragut into the 6th Commission District too, along with Hardin Valley and Karns.

“This way, you keep Farragut with Choto and Old Concord and all of those areas along Kingston Pike that I consider part of the Farragut community, even though they’re not in the limits of the Farragut township,” Briggs said.

Plan 1A also relocates Cindy Buttry to a new School Board district. It does not relocate any commissioners.

In addition, 53,005 people would move to a new Commission district and 105,981 people would move to a new School Board district.


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