Students, Parents Question Timing on Rezoning

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Knoxville (WVLT) - Some letters in the mail have been generating more than a few choice words, from hundreds of Knox County students and parents.

Among the more choice? Bad timing.

Volunteer TV's Gordon Boyd continues coverage of that controversial high school rezoning plan.

As proposed, the plan lets whoever's in high school now finish where they've started.

The real burden will be on elementary and middle schoolers coming up.

But telling those affected this week is the capper, or more accurately the T-CAPper.

Friday the 13th's the least of the reasons the week can't end soon enough for West Valley Middle School.

"I've, like, cried and stuff at night, and it's been really dramatic," says Rachel McCauley. "Like, it's not been good."

"I want to go with all my other friends, so it's kind of bittersweet, I guess," says Blakely Daniel.

Blakely and Rachel are among 300 students who could be transferred out of Bearden High's district and into West, a county-wide round robin aimed at filling the new Hardin Valley High School.

That'd leave Bearden more than 160 students lighter come full circle.

But beyond that:

"The first day they announce this, or send a letter out, school-wide to all the children, the first day of TCAPs?" says Rachel's mother, Kelly McCauley.

TCAP, as in the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, tests all third through 8th graders take in the five core subject areas.

"This is going to be their report card, this is going to impact their schools and their numbers," says Kelly.

"I had to do language and reading, and when I was reading I couldn't focus," Rachel says.

"It makes no sense," Kelly says.

"It's not a time we would like to do it, but it's a time we had to do it," Schools Spokesman Russ Oaks says releasing the rezone plan during TCAP week is the only way give parents a heads up before the school board starts talking next Wednesday.

"They aren't giving us time to fight it," Kelly says.

So what'd be harm in dropping the bomb next week?

"Then you're into things like graduation and all of spring events and all the end of school events, so there is no time to bring everything together to get this started," says Oaks.

"I guess I did okay," Rachel says.

Rachel and Blakely have another year at West Valley Middle, time for lots of parents to figure out whether to fight rezoning or move.

But, as Kelly puts it, "The timing just added fuel to the fire."

"Definitely not during TCAP week," Blakely says.

TCAP tests don't end, until the day before the rezoning work session.

Parents will have three weeks to strategize before the board votes.

But some kids already feel timed out.

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