Central Knox Parents Voice Concerns Over Rezoning

By: Whitney Daniel
By: Whitney Daniel

Knoxville (WVLT) - Wednesday night, for the first time, we hear from parents in Central Knox County on the rezoning issue.

Since rezoning centers around the overcrowding out west, much attention has been focused in that area. Wednesday night it was Fulton's turn.

Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel was at the last of a series of meetings hosted by the board of education to find out what are parents saying.

In the heart of the county, parents are worried about all the shuffling of their students.

The plan moves 31 students to Fulton from Gibbs and Austin-East, and 204 to Austin-East from Gibbs, Carter and Fulton.

They're all moves that most parents say aren't necessary.

Tempers fly at Fulton as parents discuss rezoning.

It's a subject that sparks controversy at the mere mention of the process.

"I want them to leave this school just like it is," Arlene Siler, Fulton parent.

And it's sparking lots of questions from confused parents.

"It would take the whole Springhill community and we would lose all of that," says parent Coleen McKeehan.

School leaders say the Springhill Community has been working wonders for Fulton, fighting for more AP classes, and "We've been trying to add accelerated programs and we hate to lose one of our stable neighborhoods," McKeehan says.

"To undermine those efforts by re-zoning them would hurt a school that's already struggling," says School Board Member Indya Kincannon. "There is some crowding problems at Fulton... so when I first saw the recommendation, I thought, 'Well, this could alleviate some overcrowding problems at Fulton."

Further investigation shows a rise in percentage of free and reduced lunch students, leading Second District Board Member, Indya Kincannon to call for an amendment to the proposal asking for the Springhill area to be left at Fulton.

Those living there agree.

"Just leave the schools just like it is. They're closer to here than moving them way down West or moving them to Austin-East. Leave them alone," Siler.

Parents at the meeting asked "why rezone in the first place?" The answer was three-fold. To deal with overcrowding, better utilize the existing schools in the county, and align the feeder patterns.

At Thursday night's meeting, the parents will be running the show; they're meeting at the Expo Center at 6:30 p.m.

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