It was standing room only inside Halls Elementary School's gymnasium Thursday afternoon for the fifth of six meetings to discuss the next five-year strategic plan for Knox County Schools. Many people among the crowd are pushing to include the development of a middle school for the Gibbs neighborhood, an area in northeast Knox County.
"This is probably the third or fourth time they've tried it, at least. They've been really wanting to get a middle school up here and they keep on getting overlooked and no one's listening to them," said Justin Kilby of Corryton.
"There's a void in our community. Our children have to leave, they're bused out of the area. They're at least 30 minutes away, at best," said Charlotte Bell of Corryton.
"It's not only the long bus rides and the commute that's a problem, it affects their whole day. They're on a bus and then they come home and it separates them from the community for so many hours," said Kasie Engle of Corryton.
Currently, students in the neighborhood go to Gibbs Elementary and Gibbs High, but get split up in middle school.
"I don't really like it because some of our friends who we've been with since kindergarten are really close to us and they're going to a different school. It's really different," said Coy Mount, a sixth grader at Holston Elementary.
Knox County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre said he's excited by the turnout at the meetings to discuss the school system's next five-year strategic plan. Dr. McIntyre also said many ideas have been presented to Knox County Schools, including the development of a Gibbs middle school.
The meetings are only the beginning of the development of Knox County School's next five-year strategic plan. The final meeting will take place on Tuesday, October 29th at Austin-East High School. Then, Dr. McIntyre said the school board will begin mapping out the goals of the school system for the next five years.
Those wanting Knox County Schools to build a Gibbs middle school plan to host a meeting towards the end of November. No date has been set yet. For more information go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/gibbsmiddlenow/?ref=br_tf