Latest school zoning plans mulled during FHS meeting

About 20 residents attended a meeting to give input about Knox County Schools’ consideration to redraw boundaries of a pocket area affecting Farragut High School and Hardin Valley Academy.

Knox County Schools officials were on hand for the meeting, which took place in Farragut High School Thursday, Sept. 21.

“I didn’t hear a significant objection to doing a rezone, but I heard if you do it, let’s make sure that we have as broad a grandfathered program as we can so students and families who have an association with Hardin Valley can continue that association,” Russ Oaks, Knox County Schools chief operating officer, said.

“It came up, an area of the Hardin Valley Academy zone that folks wanted us to consider moving back to Farragut,” Oaks added. It is bordered by Interstate 40/75 on the north, Kingston Pike on the south, Everett Road east and the county line on the west side.

Three weeks ago, he said there were 169 students in the target area.

“Currently because of a liberal transfer policy we’ve had in place for the last four or five years, 73 of those students currently are in Farragut High School,” Oaks said. “This [area] is currently zoned to Hardin Valley. Then 95 attend Hardin Valley Academy, so there are about 40 percent of the kids in this area who are already attending Farragut High School.

“We want to talk about, if we were to rezone, what should grandfathering look like?” he added.

“I would like to see our community brought back together again, but we do have a lot of families who have dedicated a lot of time at Hardin Valley and they deserve to stay there if they want to stay there,” Farragut Alderman Louise Povlin said. “I would hope you would grandfather them in, but our community needs to be whole again. It’s time. Hardin Valley is doing well. Within the next couple of years, you are going to have a lot of kids with all the houses that are going up at Hardin Valley.”

Art Haugh, who lives in a new community just to the west of Everett Road, said he and wife, Marea, moved to that location so their daughters could attend HVA.

“What we ask is that you maintain the liberal [transfer] policy that you have right now,” Haugh said, adding he would be responsible for his daughters’ transportation to and from HVA.

“We have a daughter who will be a rising junior and a daughter who will be a freshman next year, and we would appreciate the opportunity to stay in HVA. We really like it there.”

Povlin said the zoning issue is impacting the sale of homes in Fox Run subdivision.

“I know, in Fox Run, two houses did not sell because [the potential buyers] weren’t sure if they were going to go to Farragut [High School]. They didn’t want to go to Hardin Valley,” she said.

“The reason we bought our house is solely because of the STEM program at Hardin Valley,” Haugh said.

“I did just want to clarify, on the STEM thing in particular, Farragut is the only school in Knox County that has integrated instruction STEM certification, which is the most comprehensive certification,” Ryan Siebe, FHS principal, said.