A key theme of Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre's State of the Schools message Tuesday evening was that academic growth in Knox County Schools is strong.
Dr. McIntyre highlighted a graduation rate in the district that jumped close to 10 percent since 2009. By the district's own numbers, graduation rates moved from just over 80 percent in 2009 to three years later more than 90 percent.
"There's no silver bullet, no secret sauce," said McIntyre. "It's just a lot of hard work by a lot of people focused on instruction and sustained over a long period of time."
One of the applause lines in his more than 50 minutes speech and video presentation in front of a crowd at Powell came when Dr. McIntyre addressed school security. He voiced his support of a move that could add a $4.5 million expense to the next budget.
"I'm convinced that we should have an armed officer at each and every one of our schools," he said.
The evening also brought a surprise with a rare moment of personal insight by the normally by-the-book superintendent. He told the audience his father was the most frugal man he's met-- a man who taught him the value of saving money.
McIntyre said he is his father's son, then added, "But we need to be willing to commit appropriate resources in order to get great results. Our schools, our kids are a great investment."
On the security issue, since Friday we've seen a new round of questions about a security audit, when the superintendent knew about that audit, and how he shared the concerns it raised.