KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A preliminary draft of Knox County Schools’ middle school zoning proposal would require the rezoning of six other schools to accommodate the two new schools being constructed, down from the original estimate of 11.
The proposal, which interim superintendent Buzz Thomas shared with colleagues on Friday, says the district paid close attention to public input from a series of meetings as well as a special email address. Parents were generally concerned about alignment with elementary and high school attendance zones, developing zones that would keep students close to their homes, ensuring there was a level of grandfathering for upper level students and their siblings, and limiting the number of students affected to the smallest number possible.
The plan would affect the zoning of Farragut, Karns, Hoston, Vine and South-Doyle middle schools and creates new zones for Hardin Valley and Gibbs middle schools, both of which are set to open in fall 2018.
The new Hardin Valley Middle will have a capacity of 1,200 students and is within the current Karns Middle School zone. It includes all of the current Hardin Valley Elementary zone and a portion of the Ball Camp Elementary zone that is east of Pellissippi Parkway and north of Lovell Road. It also includes the Farragut Middle zone north of Interstate 40 and the portion south of Interstate 40 that is west of Pellissippi Parkway, north of Kingston Pike and east of Lovell Road. Students living there are zoned to attend Hardin Valley Academy.
More online: Read the full proposal [PDF]
The proposed zone would reduce the population of Karns Middle School to about 900 and Farragut Middle School to about 1,300. The total population for Hardin Valley Middle would be around 850 students for the 2018-19 school year.
Gibbs Middle School will have a capacity of about 600 students and its location on Tazewell Pike puts it deep within the current Holston Middle School zone. The proposed zone would result in all students attending Gibbs and Corryton elementary schools to be zoned for Gibbs Middle. They currently attend Holston Middle. This would reduce the Holston Middle population by about 500 students.
Thomas’ proposal says the new zones give them the opportunity to re-examine the zoning for Vine, Carter, Holston and South-Doyle middle schools to keep students closer to their homes. Most students who live north of the Tennessee River and are currently zoned to South-Doyle Middle would be rezoned to Vine Middle. Parts of the current Carter and Holston Middle zones would also be rezoned to Vine.
Students on Boyd’s Bridge Pike from the Holston River to Holston Hills Road and students zoned for Carter Middle who are west of the Holston River and not part of the Vine rezoning would be rezoned to Holston Middle.
These moves would change the Vine Middle enrollment to about 550 students, South-Doyle Middle to about 850 students, Holston Middle to about 575 students, and Carter Middle to about 650 students.
The proposal includes a process for applying for “grandfathering,” which would allow rising eighth graders and their siblings in middle school who have been rezoned to stay at their current school. Families would have to apply by February 2018 and provide their own transportation to and from school.
Thomas says he will continue to seek input from parents and other stakeholders in the coming weeks before presenting a final recommendation to the school board later in the spring.
Previous story: Knox County parents discuss middle school zoning changes
Parents who contacted the school board also had concerns about the far southwest section of the Hardin Valley Academy zone and a strong community desire to reallocate the area to Farragut High School, as well as rezoning the northernmost portion of the Dogwood Elementary School zone to Green and Sarah Moore Green Elementary schools. While Thomas said he doesn’t believe it’s appropriate to consider those as part of the middle school zoning, he thinks there should be a community discussion about the possibilities sometime in fall 2017.