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Students quiz superintendent on Knox school's future

10:52 PM, Dec 13, 2012   |    comments
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Parents and students met with Knox County School's Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre Thursday to hear about the system's future.

But it was the students who ended up spending the most time with the microphone. Many of the them wanted to know when they will see more technology in the classroom.

Several others asked McIntyre to increase school hours.

McIntyre had proposed to county commissioners in June increasing the system's budget by $35 million.

Much of the money would have gone to technology. But commission only approved a fraction of the funding.

McIntyre told the crowd getting iPads in the classrooms is a funding issue. He says it will take a lot of money to create the infrastructure and support the hardware.

PTA President Sandra Rowcliff encouraged the crowd to contact their commissioners in support of greater funding for education.

"We have to let that uprising of the community support to really fully fund education and push our kids forward that has to be transferred to our elected officials," says Rowcliff.

Several other comments centered on the need for increased staffing for the West High School Naval Jr. ROTC program.

Participants and parents spoke about the overtaxed solitary instructor.

The superintendent told the crowd they staff the program in response to demand. While there are around 100 kids currently enrolled, he said he wanted to see numbers remain that high before allocating more resources.

As for the school year's schedule, McIntyre says that's a conversation he expects the board to have in the next 18 months.

He spoke about the possibility of a "balanced year" schedule which would give children six weeks summer vacation, followed by nine weeks of instruction, and subsequently three weeks of break and remedial or enrichment instruction.

McIntyre also says he's feeling positive about the system's "report card," especially graduation rates.

He says 90% of high schoolers now graduate within four years.

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