Knox panel OKs elementary school rezoning plan
Dec 06, 2012 (The Knoxville News-Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The Knox County school board unanimously approved a rezoning plan that will affect about 1,785 elementary school students in the southwest corner of the county on Wednesday night.
The rezoning is being done to accommodate a new elementary school, which has yet to be named, near the intersection of Northshore Drive and Interstate 140. The school is scheduled to open in the fall with an enrollment of 967 students.
As part of the proposal, a total of seven elementary schools are affected by the plan -- Ball Camp, Cedar Bluff, Hardin Valley, A.L. Lotts, Blue Grass elementaries and Farragut Primary and Intermediate. Six of the schools will see their enrollment drop, while Ball Camp, will see an increase from 498 students to 607 students.
The approval also created a grandfathering process for families who have been rezoned but want their rising fifth-grader to remain at their current school.
Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre said now that the reasoning has been approved, the school system will communicate with families and begin implementing the plan.
"The next steps are communication and thinking about implementation and making sure that this elementary rezoning represents a smooth transition for our kids and our families," he said.
McIntyre said they are meeting with school principals to talk about creating several opportunities for families who have been rezoned so they can feel welcome at their new schools.
Also on Wednesday, the school board denied a charter school application, proposed by the nonprofit Genesis Rock, that would have converted the facilities at Vine Middle Performing Arts and Sciences Magnet School into a charter school.
School board members said they agreed with McIntyre's recommendation to reject the proposal because the applicants had not included prior contact with the school's community.
School board member Indya Kincannon said she read the application closely and liked many things about the application.
"But the concern I have about this application is that it's premature. When you say the students and school and community deserve the very best, it's not something to be imposed on them," she said.
"It's something that they need to buy into and build into. I don't feel comfortable approving this because I think the community deserves something that's ready to go, not half ready."
After the meeting, officials with Genesis Rock said they plan to resubmit during the next application cycle. A letter of intent is due in February, with a full application in April.
"We can definitely engage the community within that time frame," said Genesis Rock board of directors member Deborah Porter.
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