West Knox County Schools Overcrowded and NOT Getting Any Relief

The Knox County School Board continues with its Capital Plan Budget request to the Knox County Mayor the latest is a major shift from any previous plan. The KNS has the Superintendent’s newly revised plan on its website here.(Registration Required)

Here’s the major issues;

1.) The Cedar Bluff Primary School project currently underway has been changed to a Cedar Bluff Elementary School to house 1000 students. The current two buildings house 1200 students. Where are these 200 plus students going?

2.)In previous Capital Plans 2003 and 2004 there was a line item for a Southwest Elementary School for $12,000,000.00, (the idea was to build something in the Choto Rd./Northshore Dr. area) last year 2005 that line was renamed “Southwest Sector Elementary Solution”. This new proposal takes the $12,000,000.00 on line 10 “Southwest Elementary School Solution” and accomplishes the following things.

A.L. Lotts Elementary School – add 12 classrooms in 2 phases (net gain of 6 classrooms, with the elimination of the portables) the student population is increased 135 students. The school currently houses more than 1100 students, taking it to 1235 for a price tag $2,715,000.00 (22.5 students per new classroom)

Blue Grass Elementary – add 12 classrooms – 2 story addition – enlarge the cafeteria for a net gain of 10 classrooms. The student population is increased by 225 students for a price tag is $3,015,000.00 (22.5 students per new classroom)

Farragut Intermediate School – add 12 classrooms – 2 story addition – The student population is increased 300 students for a price tag is $3,340,000.00 (25 students per new classroom)

Farragut Primary School – add 12 classrooms – 8 classrooms 2 story addition and 4 classrooms 1 story addition. The student population is increased 240 students for a price tag of $2,930,000.00 (20 students per new classroom)

Total Student increase: 900
Total price tag: $12,000,000.00

Is this what the people of Southwest and West Knox County deserve? We supply over half of the tax base from Knox County’s Fifth Commission District for the entire county, however, we continue to get the short stick. While communities like Gibbs, Ritta and Brickey get these nice new buildings with more room than is conceivable. I remember in 1992 – 1994 Knox County Commissioner Frank Leuthold discussing at a Knox County Commission meeting the difference in the renovation and new construction of Christenberry Elementary School and the new construction at A.L. Lotts Elementary. They got the Cadillac and the Lotts community got the Cavalier. The Cavalier is O.K. but the Cavalier should be the norm for everybody. One community should not be treated differently than the others. Or if we are treated differently, should the better facility go to the community with “the buying power”?

Some thirty five years ago, Cedar Bluff Primary, Farragut Primary and Adrian Burnett were built as “temporary buildings”, Farragut Primary’s building was replaced and treated as a temporary. The Cedar Bluff community in 2000 had no hope for a new building, as the school board member that represented Cedar Bluff from September 1, 2000 – August 31, 2004. Together as a board we were able to get a fesibilty study accomplished, funding secured, architect selected and the schematic drawings presented to the community and school staff. The construction has recently begun, the plans have changed, downsizing the school but Cedar Bluff is finally getting their share.

Is it right to stuff our kids in these buildings packed like sardines?

I will post more on these topics in the very near future. Leave your comments.

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