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Third graders beginning the school day.  Our daughter Georgia is 2nd from left.

School Board Update from Indya

April 2012

Dear Friends,

As I watched my daughter's class pledge allegiance to the flag yesterday, it reminded me of what a great community we live in, how we take pride in our kids, our schools, our country.  When we value something, we support it generously.

This week we’re voting on the proposed school budget that includes a request for $35m in new money.  That's a a big number, but the potential benefits to our community are exponentially bigger.
I helped develop this budget, along with my fellow Board members, by adopting an ambitious strategic plan with high academic standards.  This budget would give us the means to reach our academic goals.
Our ultimate goals are about good jobs and a high quality of life for the entire community.  It starts with education.

I have studied the proposal.  It’s a fiscally responsible, strategic budget that will benefit our students, teachers, staff, and entire community.  It spells out in great detail exactly how the funds would be spent, and the academic gains we'd expect to see from the investment.
Please ask me questions about the budget.  Then if you conclude, as I do, that it’s a wise investment for Knox County, let your elected officials know!

“Public sentiment is everything, with it nothing can fail, without it nothing can succeed.”   -  Abraham Lincoln

I ask for your support. 
P.S. You can review the nitty-gritty budget details at   To the side, I offer answers to some Frequently Asked Questions.
School Budget FAQs

What’s in it for students?
More instructional time – 5 additional instructional days, more enrichment opportunities for advanced students, more interventions for struggling students,  full-day Kindergarten. 
What’s in it for teachers?
More instructional support from peers, more evaluators, enhanced performance pay, better professional development.
What about facilities?
This budget would enable us to address critical facilities needs without going into further debt.  It would enable us to implement our 5-year IT plan (infrastructure, hardware, software, support). 
Are we using our current resources effectively and efficiently?
Yes.  Despite spending less per student than most surrounding districts, and less than the state and national averages, we still get decent results.  We target our resources to the classroom.   
Aren’t our schools getting the job done with the current funds?
We are making progress, particularly in graduation rates.  However, since Tennessee raised academic standards, our shortcomings are more visible.  Only 47% of 3rd graders are reading at grade level.  Only 19% of the class of 2011 met all four ACT college readiness benchmarks.  We have significant achievement gaps by race and socio-economic status.  Money doesn’t solve all our educational challenges, but it sure helps.
How would this affect my pocketbook?
If this budget is approved by the School Board, and funded by County Commission, one way to raise the funds would be a 35 cent property tax increase.  For the Knox County median home value of $156k, that translates to an increase of $2.63 a week.  If your house is worth $300k, that would mean an increase of about $5 a week.

Of course in the long run, this investment will lead to a better educated work-force, drawing more businesses and higher-paying jobs.  So the net effect on your pocketbook could be very positive!
Copyright © 2012 Indya Kincannon for School Board, All rights reserved.
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