The Great Smoky Mountain Journal
Tuesday, January 01, 2019 02:45 PM
Knox County School Board Hears Parents Who Want To Prevent Cuts To Project GRAD Program
On Monday night, the Knox County School
Board met to hear the concerns of community members who said they want
to fight to prevent cuts to the Project GRAD program in the system's
budget, as well as to protest stripping $1 million from Green Magnet and
Sarah Moore Greene Magnet Academy.
RELATED: Project GRAD could be cut from Knox County Schools' budget
The Project GRAD program relies, in part, on a little more than a million dollars from Knox County every year. The school board said it's more than $3 million over budget for next year, and officials said they have considered cutting Project GRAD's funding.
At 5 p.m. on Monday, the board heard testimony from the community about the program. Two different pastors said the board's decision would ultimately affect the people they have been called to lead.
"They need not neglect the inner-city and the African-American community," Reverend Harold Middlebrook said. "Project GRAD and the magnet school has been a very positive influence, and the other thing that I worry about with them trying to eliminate the magnet programs is that we are moving to resegregate our school system."
Security officials had to cut off a number of the more than 100 people who attended the meeting Monday to voice their opinions, leaving the overflow crowding outside.
"While it has caused some concern that there could be cuts to that program made or that is an area that the board is looking at, it is not singled out as such. We also are looking at other ways to save as well," said Knox County School Board chair Patti Bounds.
Bounds said two new middle schools, Gibbs and Hardin Valley, cost the county roughly $2 million each to operate and staff. She also added increased health insurance premiums have added to the tight budget. She also argued newer programs like the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Achieves have made Project GRAD a smaller need.