Facilitator or not facilitator? Knox Co. Schools Board of Education meets to continue discussion on community contribution to MOA
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (WATE) – The conversation about collecting community feedback on school safety in Knox County continues.
The KCS Board of Directors met for a working session on June 2 to revisit a conversation they had at a meeting on May 19, where the Board of Directors agreed to hire a facilitator to come and help lead the conversation on a memorandum of understanding that makes schools safe.
May 26, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs sent letter to school board the president said he “strongly opposes the use of taxpayer dollars to pay an outside consulting firm to tell the district what every parent in Knox County already knows; law enforcement is a necessity in schools.
Some board members made it clear at Wednesday’s meeting that the goal was not to have a conversation about whether or not law enforcement belongs to schools. It’s about inviting the community to participate in the conversation so that they can have a say in what school safety and security looks like.
Reps Watson and Owen both agreed that they didn’t think the board had the skills to do the kind of animation needed.
“A good facilitator, all they do is move the conversation forward,” Watson said.
Mayor Jacobs was not the only one to send a letter opposing the facilitator. Council members say they have received five letters from different community groups and leaders.
Even after the board agreed to hire a facilitator, it wasn’t until the letters came out that some board members expressed concerns about the move.
Representatives Betsy Henderson and Mike McMillan both said they agreed with Mayor Jacobs’ letter.
“I support Mayor Jacobs’ letter. I think we have all been elected to be the voice of our district. KCS has meetings and takes public comment all the time, so I personally find that a facilitator is not needed in this situation, ”said Henderson.
On the cost side, Watson rep says hiring a facilitator would be a drop in the bucket compared to other expenses. His prediction is that it would cost less than 50 cents per student, which would total less than $ 50,000.
Wednesday night’s meeting was a working session, so no votes were cast. The school board meets again on June 9.