Citing Title IX FHS case, Povlin cautions BOMA about grants

Considering grant donations to Farragut schools and area non-profits, Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen have been advised, by one of their own, to be careful in light of a recent court case affecting Knox County Schools spending and centering on Farragut High School.

This was a highlight of BOMA’s Thursday, April 28, in-person meeting in the Community Room of Town Hall.

Grant requests for fiscal year 2022 have come from the Concord Adult Day Enrichment Services program at Concord United Methodist Church, Dogwood Arts Festival, upgrades to the Farragut Middle School boys basketball program’s locker room, Knox County Rescue Squad, Metropolitan Drug Coalition and Second Harvest Food Bank.

However, Vice Mayor Louise Povlin said she was concerned about giving monies to FMS boys basketball, as the school’s girls basketball team might want a similar donation.

“Right now, Knox County Schools (is) spending $1.5 million to bring the (FHS) girls softball facility up to the standard of the (FHS) boys’ baseball team’s, even though parents fundraised to build the boys facility,” she said about a successful Title IX lawsuit, introduced by a few softball program parents, mandating KCS to spend accordingly. “I don’t want to get into a similar situation, where the girls team might feel we should donate to their program, too.

“What I think would be fair would be for the middle school to establish an Education Foundation, like the high school has, for donations to be given, then distributed,” she added.

Mayor Ron Williams suggested this year’s Intro to Farragut class members could donate time to help spruce up the FMS locker rooms, noting previous classes had “paint parties” at both Farragut Primary and Farragut Intermediate schools.

“We’ve not done the middle school, I think our plan this year could be to do that,” he added.

After further discussion, BOMA agreed to donate: $27,000 each to FHS, FMS, FIS and FPS; $12,000 to the FHS Education Foundation; $3,000 to CADES; $5,000 to Second Harvest and Knox County Rescue Squad; and $4,000 to the Metropolitan Drug Coalition.

It left to be determined how much to give to Dogwood Arts, which had requested $15,000.

The fiscal year 2022 budget is scheduled to come before BOMA for first reading during its Thursday, May 27, meeting.