From a Press Release:
This next school year will have huge challenges: many families have had their lives upended, kids will come back to school anxious, even traumatized, and teachers will be stressed. Given the central role
Knox County School staff has played during this pandemic, it’s vital that we fully fund the system to deliver the best possible educational outcomes. Our students deserve nothing less.
In addition, more than 900 additional students are anticipated next year. Additional students require additional resources and staff, and the Knox County Education Coalition has worked with the schools to identify needs that are in excess of the current budget.
After a few weeks of virtual learning, most parents realize the value that Knox County Schools provide. In fact, during the coronavirus crisis, KCS educators and employees have proven to be a vital resource for students and their families by providing meals and emotional support. That support will be needed more than ever in August.
Staff, materials among additional needs
From guidance counselors, social workers and nurses to textbooks and computers KCEC has identified several gaps that should be addressed in the 2020/2021 KCS budget.
Our children’s schools have too few guidance counselors, social workers and nurses. While we are fairly close to the national standard for school nurses, the system is woefully understaffed with regard to social workers and guidance counselors. The system needs to add more than 200 professionals in those areas to reach the national standard.
Our most vulnerable children have been the most affected by the school shutdown. The district works hard to address disparities and has identified the need for additional trainers, special education teachers and school culture staff to close achievement gaps.
The system needs to purchase language arts textbooks aligned with current standards and maintain existing books. Additional funding is required to provide and maintain personal computers for student use, but even the projected needs would not get the district close to one device per student.
These are not our only needs. We need equitable pay to retain our teachers, bus drivers, custodians and support staff.
The Knox County Education Coalition consists of several community organizations dedicated to supporting public education. These organizations include Justice Knox; Knoxville Branch of the NAACP; Knox County Education Association; Kindred Futures; Latino Student Success Coalition; League of Women Voters of Knoxville/Knox County; Stop School Push Out; Students, Parents and Educators Across Knox County and What’s the Big I.D.E.A.?Please follow the coalition on Facebook and Twitter for more information.
For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport