Povlin shares research with SERC members

Louise Povlin said she’s done “a lot of research on numbers” concerning recent years zoning of Farragut and area schools, especially Farragut High School, and isn’t pleased with the results.

Povlin, a North Ward alderman with town of Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen, said Knox County School District zoning involving Farragut schools “has not always been very kind to the community.

“It’s not just the Farragut community. West Valley Middle has some issues where they have a small group that’s zoned for Farragut, a small group that’s zoned for West and the vast majority of them go to Bearden,” Povlin added during her address to Town’s Education Relations Committee during its latest meeting, Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 6, in Town Hall. “And that seems very wrong to me. You don’t build all those relationships and then take small groups” away from where the majority go to high school.

On the subject of “affecting the numbers” enrollment-wise at FHS, Povlin said, “Our numbers have been seriously impacted though the zoning.

“They were so overly concerned with filling Hardin Valley Academy that they overzealously zoned, and harmed, Farragut High School,” she added, though noting HVA “is an excellent school.”

“And I looked briefly at the numbers for Karns High School and they really decimated Karns.”

Russ Oakes, KCSD chief operating officer and a point person for county zoning issues, said late last month the district’s current focus is on rezoning county middle schools to build enrollment for new Hardin Valley Middle and Gibbs Middle schools.

“The high schools weren’t even on their agenda,” Povlin said.

In reference to a public zoning meeting Oaks and Povlin attended, along with about 60 Farragut parents, at FMS Monday, Nov. 28, “I made very strong points they need to address” concerning zoning high schools, she said. “Look at the lessons they’ve learned from Hardin Valley Academy zoning. ‘Don’t do that again.’”

Povlin gave “an estimate” of HVA’s enrollment at 1,998, adding, “they are almost at their top capacity. There is no room for growth.

“We [Farragut High School] have been taking transfers for years,” Povlin added. “Without those transfers [109 from the Town’s northwest quadrant zoned for HVA] we’d be at 1,663 students. Our [FHS] top end is 2,200. What I’ve heard where we’d like to be is 2,000.”

Another 117 high school students also live in subdivisions making up a portion of that northwest quadrant, but attend HVA as zoned according to Povlin.

“Mr. [Ryan] Siebe [FHS principal] would like to add some more [advanced placement] courses, but he can’t do that with our current enrollment,” she said.

As a result, FHS “is not as competitive as we could be if we had the enrollment where it needs to be,” Povlin said. “It’s time: Farragut has been suffering greatly from the rezoning and I’d like to see that fixed.

“And I’d like to make sure that Farragut Middle School doesn’t suffer going down the same road as Farragut High School did,” she added. “I e-mailed [district officials] all my comments and had a good conversation with Susan Horn,” District 5 Knox County Board of Education representative.

“She’s very much in support of seeing these neighborhoods rezoned back to Farragut.”

With “so much open land” in Hardin Valley, Povlin added, “that is where the growth is going to be … I’m hoping that would get us back in,” where the Town’s northwest quadrant high schoolers would be zoned for both FMS and FHS.

Attempts to contact Horn were unsuccessful at deadline.