While some worry that the proposed middle school rezoning plan will undo years of desegregation efforts and land Knox County Schools in federal court, the two players most likely to be on opposite sides of the courtroom look at the issue from very different perspectives, but do not seem overly concerned about that possibility – for now.
“This (plan) is a good first step, as far as it goes,” said NAACP president John Butler, who filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights after the agreement to build a new Gibbs Middle School was unveiled.
Last Wednesday morning, there were 1,209 inmates under Knox County’s jurisdiction – 188 in the downtown jail, 929 in the Roger Wilson Detention Center on Maloneyville Road and 92 on work release, according to a report the sheriff’s office is required to compile. Another six inmates were “on loan” to other counties where they have legal issues.
Inmates in the Maloneyville facility often are locked down in their cells 23 hours a day, not because of bad behavior, but because of understaffing. Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones and his staff did not respond to requests for information for this story.
Lawyer jokes aside, one of Bud Armstrong’s priorities as Knox County law director is saving taxpayers money. He described changes that have resulted in savings at last week’s Council of West Knox County Homeowners meeting.
Worker’s comp cases have been brought in-house, saving the county $200,000. The number of cases has dropped dramatically, and the county is now actuarially sound, he said.
Early voting starts today (Feb. 10) and the election is March 1 for two countywide offices and two school board seats. It’s called an off-year election, and back when voters were smart enough to elect a school superintendent, that race was on this ballot, too.
It’s fitting that the countywide races will be decided in the Republican Primary, because one is fratricidal as Republicans struggle with what historian Bruce Wheeler termed the “otherness” of Appalachian life – the tug between modernization and tradition.
There are no exclamation points on the email that went out to several dozen A-list recipients the day after James McIntyre announced his resignation as superintendent of Knox County Schools. But its author, Cornerstone Foundation president Laurens Tulloch, conveyed a clear sense of urgency via the not-for-profit foundation’s email account.