Today Michael Silence reported about a post from a Farragut blog.
The blog in question is reporting on a story that appeared in the News-Sentinel 5 days ago, immediately following the non-voting school board workshop that was held 6 days ago.
This evening, I immediately contacted Sixth District School Board Member Chuck James. Mr. James explained to me that there has been some discussion about several scenario’s, however, NO decision has been made. He assured me that the New West Knox County High School will serve the students and community for many years to come. It will have all the necessary components to be a functioning high school. He also informed me that there is NO money coming from the school system to build this new school. Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale and the County Commission have given the $40.0 million dollars to the school system. The Mayor is committed to see to it that this school is built correctly.
I served on the Knox County School Board, representing the Fifth District, September 1, 2000 – September 1, 2004. In 2001, I began the discussion of the need for a new high school. There had been NO discussion before this time on the school board. The renovation and expansion of Bearden High School in the late 90’s was inadequate.
In 2002 Mr. James was elected to the school board and at the same time Mayor Ragsdale was elected County Mayor. Mr. James and I began working together by requesting a presentation in September 2002 at the Board’s annual retreat to discuss this need. It was discussed, but board members felt that the needs in their own district were too great to address the new high school.
In early 2004 and into the fall of 2004, no request was made by the Knox County Superintendent or School Board for a new high school. During the wheel tax referendum, County Commissioners and the Mayor were out front selling the tax for the high school and not a peep from the superintendent or school board endorsing the need for the new high school or the additional revenue that the wheel tax would produce. The wheel tax passed overwhelmingly in areas like Shannondale in North Knoxville and West Knox County.
The School Board then immediately took the money that the Mayor and Commission had fought for. A couple of board members attended Parent meetings early in 2005, declaring the school would be ready for students by 2007 and now it has been delayed until 2008. Mr. James has never made such false claims.
In the near future, I will be examining why this High School is over budget, and will report my findings on this my personal blog.
To set the record straight, The sky is NOT falling, The wolf is not blowing down the school built with sticks and straw.