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Knoxville Holds First Town Hall for School District

T.J. Carson
Superintendent Steve Wilder touched on numerous subjects and accomplishments in his half-hour presentation.

Knoxville #202’s first town hall meeting to address the state of the district was not well-attended. But it didn’t stop its superintendent from feeling good about it.

The first of two town halls took place at the Knoxville High School auditorium on Tuesday. Around 10 people attended and listened along with school board members at Superintendent Steve Wilder laid out what is happening in the district.

Wilder said the forum was a chance for the entire community to be more involved with the district. He said it was still a success despite the low turnout.

“We’ve done our part, I think the city council’s doing their part, and I think there are a lot of people in town doing their part. But it’s a community, it’s a village, it’s going to take all of us to continue either moving forward or being happy with what we have,” Wilder said.

Wilder focused on topics such as the district’s finances, curriculum, and facilities in the district. He said curriculum and facilities were positives; citing improved technology for teaching students, completion of the high school, and a new sports complex.

But Wilder also talked at length about the district’s budget and the struggles associated with it. He said that involves uncertainty with how much the district will receive in state finances, legislation in Springfield that could freeze property taxes and reduce revenues for schools, and if pension costs will be shifted to school districts.

“We need to be as good as we can about projecting financially and remaining responsible with taxpayer dollars, and trying to keep an eye on what’s going on with the state. That’s going to change, but we know it’s going to change. So it’s our responsibility to be prepared for that, and when it does, not to be caught behind the eight-ball,” Wilder said.

The next town hall is scheduled for March.