Knox County's Preliminary School Budget

Knoxville (WVLT) - A grandmother on a mission Wednesday tries to convince Knox County school board members to spend money replacing the overcrowded Adrian Burnette Elementary in Halls.

Adrain Burnette Elementary on Brown Gap Road in Halls was built in 1975 as a temporary school for 500 students, with the understanding it would be replaced within 15 years.

Now, Years past that deadline...this self-described "grandmother on a mission" wants a new school for her granddaughter and her classmates.

"Adrian Burnette is a school literally coming apart at the seams," Treva Castleberry says.

Treva Castleberry says the school is overcrowded by 150 students, and was built without adequate storage or bathroom facilities.

She supplied board members with photos that show the daily line-up of boys and girls waiting to use the school's four toilets.

Stacks of required paperwork are stored in the principal's office, downspouts run through the classrooms and distract students when it rains...and the air in the playroom is filtered to remove dust and mold.

"Why? Because it's necessary to clean the air that these poor children have to breathe everyday," Castleberry says.

The school board's 18.5 Million dollars capital spending budget proposal includes funding for maintenance issues at other elementaries, and high-school athletic facility upgrades.

It also allots 6 million dollars to complete the new Hardin Valley High School, but nothing new for Adrian Burnette students.

"Why don't we address all these needs? It's simple, we don't have enough money to service the debt that would be required to address all those needs," Dan Murphy says.

School board members say they're doing what they can without shifting money from classroom instruction.

"But I find it as a grandmother really hard to understand why that same temporary wooden school building exists today as a functioning school," Castleberry says.

Board members voted down a request to pay for the design phase of a new Carter Elementary to accomodate 600 students, for years, the Carter community lobbied for a new school.

The school board will send it's budget request to county commission later this month.