The Daily Plan-It: Intro to Inkscape, Einstein Simplified, and the Banditos

Good morning! Need something to do today? We’ve got some ideas. Take a look.

At noon in the visitor center, Hannah Aldridge will perform for WDVX’s Blue Plate Special, along with the Dinosaur Truckers. As always, it’s free to attend!

Work off some of the weekend’s excess at zumba with Carrie Jackson. The class is at Southside Baptist Church, and it starts at 6 p.m. It’s $5 to participate.

KnoxMakers in Oak Ridge will have a free class tonight on the basics of Inkscape, a software vector graphics editor. The class starts at 6:30 p.m. and goes till 9. More info here.

Knoxville’s longest running comedy improv troupe Einstein Simplified will perform at Scruffy City Hall at 8 p.m. 21+ only.

Wrap up the night at Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria, where the Banditos will perform at 10 p.m. 21+ only.

Here’s the Real Story Behind That School Board/Superintendent “Agreement”

Yesterday I wrote about a document outlining the Knox County Schools Board of Education’s so-called “agreements” with Superintendent Jim McIntyre. Incoming Board member Amber Rountree had been presented with four-page list of rules of conduct at last week’s orientation for new members. She found it problematic and so asked the County Law Director, Richard “Bud” Armstrong, for an opinion. And his opinion was that the document was unenforceable and not binding.

However, according to current school board members and the administration, the document has never been thought of as binding in the first place. Here’s the statement KCS spokesperson Melissa Ogden sent us:

I think it is important to note that the Superintendent does not vote upon or sign the agreement.

The document was developed by the School Board in 2008 in order to help define and guide how School Board members wanted to work collaboratively with each other and with the Superintendent.

The agreement was voted upon and adopted by the Board of Education in 2008 and was revised, voted upon and re-adopted in 2010. Both of these actions were on publicly noticed Board of Education meeting agendas.

Board member Karen Carson, who was on the Board when the first version of the agreement was adopted in 2008, offers more detail.

“It has always just been a working agreement between the Board and the Superintendent,” Carson says. “It’s always been on the retreat agenda. I think it’s clear that it’s not carved in stone, because we’ve revised it every time a new Board has been elected.”

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School Board to Discuss Sullivan’s Column Next Week

In this week’s paper, columnist (and former MP owner) Joe Sullivan has a piece about whether Knox County owes Knox County Schools upwards of $10 million. He first wrote about the issue in May, asserting that the Knox County Trustee’s office has been wrongly collecting a portion of the local option sales tax revenues that go to schools since 1998.

Since then, Sullivan has tried to get a response from the county without much luck. Here’s part of his column:

On May 27, I furnished school board Chair Lynne Fugate and Superintendent Jim McIntyre an opinion by my attorney, Tom McAdams, affirming the validity of all my assertions. Fugate, in turn, furnished the opinion to deputy law director David Sanders, who purports to serve the school board, and asked for a response from the law director, Bud Armstrong.

Three months have passed and no response has been forthcoming. Instead, Armstrong’s only known communication on the matter (of which I’m aware) was in a July 8 memorandum to, of all people, County Commissioner Dave Wright. This is egregious behavior that borders on dereliction of duty on the part of the law director who is obliged to represent all branches of county government co-equally.

In his memorandum, Armstrong claims that the 1965 agreement was “held to be invalid and unenforceable by the Chancery Court in 1995” and subsequently abrogated by a 1998 settlement of that court proceeding.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and Armstrong’s claims are pure poppycock. Indeed, if there’s anything worse than the law director’s improprieties, it’s his incompetence.

I obtained a copy of Armstrong’s memorandum from another county commissioner and furnished it to Fugate and McIntyre as well as McAdams for review. My attorney’s conclusion: “The 1965 agreement remains in full force and effect, enforceable in accordance with its terms.”

To enforce it and seek recovery, the school board will plainly have to retain its own attorney to act on its behalf.  … Patently, a conflict exists with a law director who is much more beholden to County Mayor Tim Burchett and County Commission. Having repeatedly spurned the school board’s request for additional funding, they aren’t about to fork over anything like $10 million without a fight.

However, it now seems that KCS is taking the issue seriously, even if the county isn’t. The agenda for next week’s meeting, posted online last night, includes an item entitled “Discussion and possible action regarding collection of Trustee’s fees.” Included in the agenda packet are the legal opinions from both sides.

Armstrong’s three-page opinion is prefaced with an Aug. 6 letter and apology for not having sent it to Fugate back in July. “[F]or that oversight, I beg your indulgence. I have, maybe mistakenly, assumed that my memo had been transmitted throughout the school system,” he writes. (This seems to be a bad habit of Armstrong’s, as KCS administration had no knowledge  of Wednesday’s legal opinion about the Board’s conduct agreement with the superintendent until I called them yesterday afternoon—McIntyre wasn’t cc’d on the opinion.) 

McAdams’ 12-page opinion discounting Armstrong’s opinion is supplemented by a four-page memorandum and seven-page exhibit expounding on the details of the 1995 lawsuit that the county says negates the 1965 agreement. Not being in the legal field, this reporter has no idea who’s in the right, but McAdams does seem to have enough detail to make a case of it. (If you’re a lawyer who understands all this and has a neutral opinion on the battles between the county and the school board and wants to share any legal thoughts on the matter, do get in touch.)

The Board will discuss all of this at its work session Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the AJ Building. (Yes, work sessions are usually on Mondays, but it’s Labor Day.) If you care about seeing the new members sworn in, then get there at 4:30 p.m. On Wednesday, at its regular meeting in the City County Building, the Board will decide on an action to take, if any, regarding the possibly uncollected fees.

Both meetings should be something—and not just because of this issue. Also on the agenda are three discussion items from Mike McMillian: one to rescind the passage of the KCS Five-Year Plan that passed last month over his opposition; one to discuss the procedure for postponing agenda items per Board members’ personal privilege, which McMillan tried to do with the Five-Year Plan; and one to discuss the Board’s Executive Committee, which currently consists solely of the Chair and McIntyre (and which overruled McMillan’s personal privilege last month). Don’t expect this discussion to stay calm, either.

The Daily Plan-It: Labor Day Edition

Good morning! We’ve got a three-day weekend coming up, so we’ve got four days’ worth of stuff going on. Take a look.

FRIDAY
At noon in the visitor center, catch Ancient Warfare perform for WDVX’s Blue Plate Special, along with Bear Medicine. It’s free to attend, as always!

Close out the summer at the Sunsphere starting at 4:30 this afternoon. The Shakin’ the Sphere event will feature a cornhole tournament, some wrestling, and a performance from local band Rosehill. Beers from Cherokee Distributing Company will be on sale (two for $5!), and food trucks will there. It’s free to attend!

Comedian Lavell Crawford, whom you might know from his work on Breaking Bad, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Workaholics, and Chelsea Lately, will perform his standup routine at Sidesplitters Comedy Club at 7:45 and 10:30 tonight. Tickets are $32. Buy them here. Crawford will perform again on Saturday.

Chamomile and Whiskey will perform at the Preservation Pub at 10 p.m., along with locals Ebony Eyes, and Earth Quaker. Cover’s $5. 21+ only.

Knoxville indie rock kings the Royal Bangs will perform at Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria at 10 p.m. No cover!

SATURDAY
Early risers and yoga enthusiasts: Ijams will have a SUP yoga class. Yes, that’s yoga on a stand-up paddle board. No experience necessary! It’s $20 to participate. More info here.

The Picky Chick Consignment event will kick off its third day at the Knoxville Expo Center at 9 a.m. It’s $5 at the door to go shop for reduced-price clothing for fall and winter for the kiddos. More info here.

Boomsday, that beloved free-for-all by the river and fireworks spectacle kicks off at 3 p.m. on Neyland Drive. And yes, it’s FREE to go walk around down there and stake out a spot to watch the fireworks. If you paid $20 earlier in the year, you’ve now got tickets to an after-show concert from Knoxville native Rodney Atkins. We’ve got all the details here, if you need more info.

If you don’t want to/didn’t buy the $20 tickets, you’ve got a couple options for post-Boomsday entertainment. Shark Week will perform at Scruffy City Hall, along with Pennicillin Baby and Johnny Astro and the Big Bang. The show starts at 10 p.m. 21+ only.

Also at 10, catch local indie stalwarts Gamenight, their friends Madre, and Marina Orchestra perform at the Pilot Light. Cover’s $5. 18+ only.

SUNDAY
Spend the day outside or watching the football game, and then head over to the Concourse to catch Psychostick perform with One-Eyed Doll, Wild Throne, and Belfast 6 Pack. The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7-$10. 18+ only. More info here.

The Preservation Pub’s Upstairs Underground Standup Comedy Show starts at 8 p.m. It’s free to attend! Go get your giggle on! 21+ only.

The Brockefellers will play at Barley’s at 10 p.m. Have a beer while you’re there.

MONDAY
The Labor Day Sunflower Project gets started at 9 a.m. More details here. It’s free to attend!

The Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church is scheduled to have a gentle yoga and meditation class at 5:30 p.m. Call (865) 577-2021 or email yogaway249@gmail.com to make sure it’s still on.

WDVX’s Tennessee Shines show will feature Dixieghost live at the visitor center at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door (which opens at 6). You can also tune in!

The Oak Ridge Community Band’s Labor Day concert also starts at 7 p.m. at Alvin K. Bissell Park. It’s free to attend! More info here.

Uber Is Finally in Knoxville!

Exciting news, all you potential drunk drivers—now you have another option besides waiting for a cab. UberX is hitting Knoxville as of TODAY, like right now. And it’s free all weekend!

Here’s the email the company sent out earlier:

uber emailScreen Shot 2014-08-28 at 2.11.17 PM

UberX not full-fledged Uber with the town cars and stuff. It’s a driver driving his or her own car—this makes it a lot cheaper than the town cars, but you also might be crammed into the back of someone’s (very clean) Prius. But is being crammed into a backseat a hell of a lot better than a DUI or a car wreck? Absolutely.

Of course, if you don’t have a smartphone and you don’t have a credit or debit card to link to Uber, you’re still limited to cabs. But between this and the rental bikes downtown, we have to say it’s a very good week for Knoxvillians who don’t have cars—or who are too drunk to drive them safely.

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