The Tennessee State Board of Education upheld Monday the Blount County Board of Education’s denial of a charter to HOPE (Hands-On, Progressive Education) Academy.

The group trying to open a charter school in Blount County is free to apply again in 2012. How much money and time is spent by our local school system trying to fend off predators instead of being able to educate our young people?

Many thanks to Blount County Schools for working so hard to defend our local school system.

Dec 15 2011

The Plan East Tennessee project and is seeking your ideas and commentary.

PlanET says "As part of the project, we are using an online discussion venue called MindMixer. MindMixer is a structured discussion environment that is used to generate ideas, discuss them and vote/promote the best ones, but it needs well-rounded input from citizens across the region. The current discussion relates to strengths and weaknesses of the region and the each of the five counties in the PlanET region (Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon and Union). As the PlanET planning process advances, additional questions/topics will be added."

Join the discussion...

Blount County topics...

Learn more about PlanET...

Nov 30 2011

As reported by R. Neal at,

The State Board of Education held an appeal hearing yesterday regarding a proposed Blount County charter school that was rejected by Blount County schools (and Alcoa schools before that). The organizers appealed to the state and a decision is expected by year end.

The Maryville Daily Times reports that Ruby Tuesday joined Airport Honda, Clayton Homes, East TN Land Development, LLC and US Foodservice in support of the charter school.

(The article did not mention that Warren Buffett, who is involved with the Gates Foundation's efforts to undermine public education and teachers, owns Clayton Homes.)

According to the report, citizens showed up at the meeting to speak for and against the charter school. "My children don’t need this school taking money away from their school," said Gary Wynn, a parent of two Blount Co. school students.

The Daily Times coverage, while mostly "fair and balanced" with regard to reporting "both sides" of the controversial proposal, appears biased against public schools and in favor of diverting taxpayer money from public education to fund charter schools. Charter school lobbyist Matt Throckmorton appears to have them on speed dial. Their latest spin promotes "public schools of choice."

What the local coverage has failed to do thus far is explain why the charter school organizers are any better qualified than the local school system and professional educators, or what the charter school organizers bring to the table other than demands for a $1.5 million handout from taxpayers.

It's also amazing that so many people in the community seem so concerned about our "failing" public schools yet keep electing people at the local and state level who oppose public education. Well, I guess it isn't all that amazing, really.

Nov 29 2011

The Tennessee State Board of Education is holding a public hearing today, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011, at 11:30AM, to review Blount County's denial of a new charter school. The meeting should be over by 12:45PM.

The meeting will be held at:
Blount County Schools
Board Room
831 Grandview Drive
Maryville, TN 37803

State officials will allow additional written comments after the hearing, and comments will be received by the state Board of Education until Dec. 6.

Stand up and be heard. Public comments will be allowed at the meeting for 15 minutes. Otherwide, you can contact the Tennessee State Board of Education to let them know the charter school should not be allowed in Blount County. Comments must be received by 4:30 PM CST, Dec. 6, 2011.

Contact for your comments:
Dannelle F. Walker
General Counsel
Tennessee State Board of Education
9th Floor, 710 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243
FAX: (615) 741-0371

Theoretically, this will be your last chance to oppose a charter school for Blount County. Please, do your part and contact the TN State Board of Education with your comments.

The Tennessee State Treasurer "has ruled that establishing the school would not have a substantial negative fiscal impact on Blount County Schools."

Not a "substantial negative fiscal impact"? Could have a negative impact though? Maybe The Daily Times reporter could ask the state rep to define substantial and obtain details on the analysis that determined this ruling. School systems all over the region, state, and country are fighting to provide a decent education with funding cutbacks. Why would anyone want to approve an effort that could have any kind of negative fiscal impact on the system?

Oct 11 2011
When: Thu. January 1, 1970 12:00 AM

On Thursday, Nov. 3 from 7-9pm, Blount County's own celebrity chef Olivia Sipe will be giving a cooking demonstration and serving heavy hors d'oeuvres with beverages at The Market at Washington and High Streets. Miss Olivia assures us you will not need a meal afterwards! Tickets are $20 per person and reservations are required before October 31 (
Beer from The Market's draft taps will be available for an additional $3.

Sep 4 2011

Keep up-to-date on the latest at FixAlcoaHighway.

KNS Guest Editorial, Alcoa Highway bypass: Bad process leads to bad project

MDT Letter to Editor, Alcoa bypass is not a good solution

Tab Burkhalter, Blount County commissioner and local attorney, and his merry band of Hope, first approached the City of Alcoa about opening a charter school. That didn't work out so well.

They then approached Blount County School Board. Denied.

They've asked for $1 million of Blount County's school budget, but have no plan. They can offer nothing more than is already offered by the Blount County school system.

Many thanks to the Blount County School Board for this wise decision.

Jul 17 2011

Just recently (June, 2011) the Alcoa post office made a change in services for holding mail. Now, if you put a hold on your mail and you want to pick up your held mail at the post office, you must go to the Maryville post office to pick it up.

You can setup an automatic deliver start up date, assuming you are confident you will be there to accept your mail. You can use the internet to schedule deliver start up again, assuming you have internet access, know how to use it, and are confident of internet security.

Seems odd. I'm sure it is a money-saving change. One less person working at the Alcoa post office? One person at the Maryville post office working harder?

Note, it's only about 3 miles from the Alcoa post office to the Maryville post office using Hall Road, Broadway, etc. Keeping in mind there are probably ten stop lights along the way. More people using more gas, instead of a local central Alcoa location to pick up mail on hold.

C'est la vie.

When: Thu. January 1, 1970 12:00 AM

The Institute for Transportation Research and Education at North Carolina State Universtiy is looking for participants to contribute opinions on the new Double Crossover Diamond (diverging diamond) intersection at Bessemer and Middlesettments Roads.

This is the new road that goes under the US 129 bypass to/from K-Mart to Lowe's (or wherever).

The institute is trying to assess the operation and safety of the new intersection.

The meeting will be held at the City of Alcoa Service Center (not the Administration building off Hall Road). The City of Alcoa Service Center is located at:

725 Universal Street (off of Wright Road)

Take Springbrook Road, past the pool, past the duck pond, past the school. Take a left on Edison/Wright Road. The City of Alcoa Service Center will be on the right.

The institute has requested interested participants to contact Jessica Smith at or 919-515-8895. They said the deadline for participation was Thursday, June 16, but I contacted her yesterday, June 19th, and she said I was welcome to attend.

Jun 19 2011

Stephen Hargis with the Chattanooga Times Free Press has an excellent article for Alcoa High School football fans.

“I’m not stupid. To have a shot of winning a state championship we knew we had to take a different route that didn’t include playing Alcoa,” said head coach Bill Price [ Signal Mountain High School].

Jun 18 2011

The Daily Times has changed access to their on-line newspaper. For the majority of content, a subscription is now required.

Internet only access is $60/year. Print + on-line is $12/year more than print only.

The New York Times does not charge print subscribers for on-line access. I think The Daily Times should give print subscribers the same courtesy.

Jun 5 2011

Someone told me several months ago there were guineas roaming the neighborhood. We finally saw them the other day. Way cool!

May 20 2011

"I personally don’t feel a charter school is needed," said [Alcoa] board member Julie Rochelle. "Why would we need to have a charter school when we have tons of people who are on the wait list in every grade? We should focus on our own needs. I believe we need to put money into a new high school and provide the best for the Alcoa community."

Agreed. Support your local schools. Contact your local government and school board to let them know you do not want a charter school in Alcoa.

UPDATE: What problem would a charter school solve in Alcoa?

ANOTHER UPDATE: The charter school proponents have decided to not put a school in Alcoa, they have moved on to Blount County.

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