Friday, January 20, 2017

School rezoning poses challenges for Knox County's First District

With construction on new Gibbs and Hardin Valley middle schools underway, the work of explaining which students will attend those schools is far from over.

What was four public rezoning meetings scheduled by Knox County Schools administrators has grown to six as interest in the new Hardin Valley and Gibbs middle schools continues to grow.

Parents in both communities have turned out in big numbers to get updates and express their concerns about how the district's existing middle schools will be rezoned to distribute students to all the schools.

The areas that could be affected when HVM School opens
Knox County District 1 Commissioner Evelyn Gill has the most schools affected in her district. She predicts the coming changes will have a major impact.

"Schools provide a framework and a bench mark for the next 10 years - where do we want to be? Serving the needs of students in those communities,” said Gill.

According to August 2016 data from Knox County Schools, Holston and Vine middle schools were under capacity, while Carter was over by 173 students.
The parents Gill represents say there's a number of issues.

"People are positive that you have a neighborhood school in Gibbs, but to have a neighborhood school it impacts Holston and it also impacts the diversity at Holston Middle School,” explained Gill.

More issues arise for parents who find themselves having to drive kids to school or rely on the bus system.
“You travel 30, up to 45 or even 50 minutes on a bus to and from school. It’s extremely difficult to get affordable and safe transportation for families and students,” said Gill describing transportation issues that could arise.

Zones that could be affected with Gibbs Middle School
Gibbs and Hardin Valley middle schools are both set to open in 2018.
Gill says parents with questions can learn more on the school districts website. They can also email questions or concerns to

High turnout is also expected at another zoning meeting set for Tuesday at Holston Middle School at 6 p.m.

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