The Knox County School's Rezoning Proposal Passes With A 5 to 4 Vote

By: Whitney Daniel
By: Whitney Daniel

Knoxville (WVLT) - The vote is in: Knox County High Schools will undergo a system-wide rezoning.

Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel has been following this issue from the beginning to the end.

Definitely a controversial issue. Parents have been up in arms about rezoning since they first received a notice in the mail.

They held several community meetings. The board sponsored forums. Over the last three weeks, it's been anything but relaxing for both sides.

Tonight, a decision. One that passed on a one-vote margin and one that parents are certainly not happy about.

It began with a bang.

"I felt like this was the right thing to do.. and needed to be said," board member Cindy Buttry said.

The four and a half hours began not with a vote on the proposed rezoning, but on a substitute motion offered by Cindy Buttry to rezone North of I-40 and West of Pellissippi to Hardin Valley and have an open zone.

The crowd liked the idea, but board members has concerns over a low population at HVHS. Robert Bratton amended it to bring students from Ball Camp and Cedar Bluff.

"We're moving numbers together and keeping large amounts of kids together in the community," board member Robert Bratton said.

The crowd liked that too the board didn't.

"The amendment fails, we're back to the substitute motion," board member Karen Carson said. "That substitute motion fails... that brings us back to the main motion on the floor."

"I think the amendments could have helped because that is an indication that they're listening to with the community wanted," Farragut parent Robert Williams said.

Board members offered three other amendments to the main motion -- ones the board knew were coming.

"They had their minds made up and they didn't listen to the community," Williams said.

"The amendment fails, we're back to the substitute motion," Carson said.

"With an eight-no counts, that amendment fails," Carson said.

"With three yes's and six no's, the amendment fails... that brings us back to item number eight," Carson said.

Back again to square one -- but this time:

"Divide the question and we vote on the zoning issue as one and the siblings as another," Buttry said.

"Six in favor and three against... that motion carries," Carson said.

"We addressed them. We called them out, everyone of them had a legitimate reason for not voting for this plan," Powell parent Tamara Shepherd said.

But in a vote of four No's and five Yes's... the re-zoning passes.

"Deep sadness and deep sadness for the precedent that this sets. They're still chasing growth," Shepherd said.

But those who voted yes say it's what needs to be done.

"This is what every board member has to ask him or herself, does this further the interest of the school system?" board member Dan Murphy said.

Parents say they may have to take matters into their own hands to feel comfortable with this decision.

"I think you'll see us running for the school board and MPC!!" Shepherd said.

As they were walking out, parents said they aren't sure what they're next step might be.


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