School board debates budget spending on instructional coaches

Superintendent Dr. McIntyre, far left, discusses the importance of instructional coaches at the Knox County School Board work session Monday, March 30.
Superintendent James McIntyre, far left, discusses the importance of instructional coaches at the Knox Co. School Board work session Monday, March 30.

The Knox Co. School Board met Monday, March 30 in the First Floor Board Room of the Andrew Johnson Building for a work session, where members were able to express uncertainties with elements of the preliminary $440 million budget.

With the discussion of the General Purpose budget for the 2016 federal year, some board members considered the need to spend over $4 million on instructional coaches.

Amber Rountree, ninth district representative, worried whether instructional coaches are beneficial in the academic sphere.

“While I’m not saying that these coaches are a waste, I am just concerned that with our limited funds, is this the best way to spend money for our students?” she asked.

Knox Co. superintendent James P. McIntyre responded to Rountree by addressing the need for instructional coaches as a valuable asset to the classroom.

“Instructional coaches are a valuable investment; they are effective in helping to build capacity and to make us collectively better at what we do in educating kids,” he said.

Further, Tracie Sanger, second district representative, defined instructional coaches as “former teachers assigned to certain schools to help teachers refine their teaching skills.”

“The coaches help teachers plan and come up with small assessments or can be very specific as in an ELA coach or a math coach,” she said.

Sanger said she feels the budget is providing enough for the instructional coaches and that she would be saddened to see them go away.

For more information about the General Purpose budget, click here.

Edited by Hannah Hunnicutt 

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