Last week’s story about legislation introduced by state Rep. Rick Staples implied a problem with drinking water in public schools since Staples wants to require school systems to test it. His bill (HB0631) was scheduled to be heard by the House Education & Administrative Planning subcommittee on Tuesday, March 28.
Meanwhile, we checked with state and local agencies to clarify the current status of school water, especially in schools built before June 19, 1986, when the federal lead ban took effect.
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.
Imagine the shock of Patti Bound when a chain link fence appeared around part of the campus of Brickey-McCloud Elementary School, a short distance from her home. “Why should I know anything,” she said when asked. “I’m only on the Board of Education.”
Bounds was surprised to learn that new fencing is coming for Powell Middle School, also in her district. She said fencing has never been discussed during her two years on the board.
Mayor Madeline Rogero called for $2.7 million for sidewalks and crosswalks across the city, when she presented her budget last week, including $750,000 for sidewalks within school Parental Responsibility Zones and another $750,000 for new sidewalk construction.
Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett will present his budget Monday, May 9. We’ll see then what he proposes.
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.
A month ago, we wrote about Bearden High School, where the faculty and staff were reeling from the news that Bearden’s Tennessee Value Added Assessment (TVAAS) ranking had plunged from a good-as-it-gets Level 5 all the way to Level 1, the lowest score possible. Schools that stay at Level 1 are labeled by the state as failing. Teachers that stay at Level 1 get fired.
Bearden’s fall was so steep and dramatic that five other KCS high schools – Central, Gibbs, Paul Kelley Volunteer Academy, L&N STEM Academy, and West – were also rated Level 1 for 2014-15 and went virtually unnoticed.
Linda Holtzclaw was the last public forum speaker at the November school board meeting. When she stepped up to the podium, it was clear that she meant business:
“I come to you today as a classroom teacher with 32 years of experience teaching in Knox County Schools,” she said, explaining that South-Doyle Middle School, where she has taught for the past 20 years, has lost 60 teachers in the past two years, and that student behavior has become increasingly problematic.
In a world that’s going increasingly paperless, Knox County Schools plans to spend $2 million this year to lease copy machines.
The deal passed the school board without debate and, under a court-sanctioned agreement, Knox County Commission cannot question how the school board spends money specifically. So the commission ratified the contract Nov. 16.