Last night the Maryville City School Board voted to accept Director Mike Dalton's recommendations for the schools. Here's the Daily Times story, which according to my wife who was at the meeting, accurately reflects what went down.
In short, they're expanding the high school, but there's no indication yet as to which expansion plan they'll use. Will they plow down houses up to Mountain View Avenue? Much of the drama of the evening centered on neighborhood opposition to school expansion. As a resident of the neighborhood (though not close enough to be directly affected) I think the school needs to consider removing some of the parking lot if necessary to make it fit within the current space. The elephant in the room has always been the football team - they won't split into two high schools for fear of breaking up the football dynasty. But I think cost is as much an issue as anything else. High schools are VERY expensive to build. The plan now calls for construction of a new high school after 2020.
The other major decision - and of more interest to me as a parent of a kindergartener and pre-schooler - is to construct a new intermediate school. Under the new system, the intermediate schools will include 4th, 5th and 6th graders. Supposedly, this was the result of a Fourth Grade Task Force decision. My wife, who has a background in education, thinks this is BS and that the decision is all about zoning (where would a new elementary school go?), money and property sites, and not about the educational needs of children. 4th graders are not mature enough to go from teacher to teacher the way middle and high school kids are. So will the 4th graders be completely separated from the 5th and 6th graders? Also, where will the zoning line lie between MIS and the new intermediate school? In five years they will begin planning for a new elementary school.
Anyway, these are the major issues decided. Fort Craig will take in the preschool program to relieve overcrowding at Foothills Elementary. Though I'm a Fort Craig parent I'm sympathetic to the charge that Fort Craig hasn't picked up its share of overcrowding.
Any other thoughts on the Maryville City Schools expansion plan? The school system is a point of pride for the City of Maryville. It's one of the best in the state, if not THE best. The reason is not wealth per se but parental involvement. But the system is at a crossroads of sort, as thousands of new people from the Knoxville area and elsewhere in the country move to Maryville.
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