published Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Hamilton County schools board, parents involved in rezoning

About 100 people turned out for a Board of Education work session Tuesday. Some had messages on their vehicles calling for rethinking a rezoning proposal.
About 100 people turned out for a Board of Education work session Tuesday. Some had messages on their vehicles calling for rethinking a rezoning proposal.
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Parents have spoken, and Hamilton County Schools leaders say they’re listening.

School board members said they wanted to see parental input before moving forward with a rezoning plan for schools in East Hamilton County. More than 100 community members attended a Tuesday board work session centered on the issue.

Families upset over the rezone have begun organizing in person and online since the plan was unveiled late last month. Parents have flooded county and school officials with hundreds of phone calls and emails. One group of parents and students even staged a small protest at the school system’s central office last week. The phrase “rethink, not rezone,” was drawn on the windows of many cars in Tyner’s parking lot Tuesday.

Board Chairman Mike Evatt said he wants to create a community committee to examine and study the zoning plan, which was created by school system administrators but not yet voted on by the board. Drawing representation from each of seven areas proposed to be rezoned, Evatt said the group would provide valuable parental involvement before the board moves forward.

“We’ve heard you, we’ve listened to you and we want to engage you in conversation and discussion,” Evatt said.

Ryan Ledford, one of the most vocal opponents of the plan, will be responsible for finding parents to serve on the committee.

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about Kevin Hardy...

Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...

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