Some city and county slots still open for Innovation Academy

Rick Wagner • Jul 11, 2013 at 11:23 PM

KINGSPORT — A day after the deadline for chosen students to confirm their plans to attend Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee, it appears some Kingsport students who didn’t get a slot in last month’s lottery may be in luck.

The situation for Sullivan County students is a little more unclear, however, because preliminary updated numbers are not yet available.

The city and county systems jointly operate IA, a science, technology, engineering and math school, which in its second year is going from grades 6 and 7 to grades 6, 7 and 8.

IA is funded locally and with a $1 million Race to the Top federal grant funneled through the Battelle Memorial Foundation.

“I have a couple of messages still outstanding, but as of now, we have the following,” said Andy True, administrative coordinator and spokesman for the Kingsport City Schools.

For 6th grade, True said 27 have confirmed. Each system has 40 slots to fill, meaning up to 13 might be available to the next students in line.

“The 6th grade waiting list is still over 30 long, and we are beginning the process of contacting those parents,” True said.

In 7th grade, he said 14 new students are confirmed and 19 confirmed that attended last year. That 33 would be seven students short of 40.

And for 8th grade, he said 14 new students were confirmed and 15 confirmed who attended last year. That would leave 11 slots.

As for the county numbers, IA Principal Sandy Watkins said she is still compiling the county numbers and going through emails. She is in charge of the county lottery and student lists because of a position elimination from central office, made as a cost-cutting measure to help balance the county school budget.

As of the June 26 IA Governing Board meeting, at least 12 eighth-grade slots for Sullivan County students remained unfilled at IA.

The IA Governing Board June 25 held a computerized lottery for those who put in applications for 240 slots. Because the board chose to give siblings of existing students priority, officials said a few more than 40 students per grade per system might be allowed.

The board at that meeting decided to have a second round of applications for those who did not apply by the May 24 deadline, both for the 12 county eighth-grade slots and for all other grade level slots.

However, students who met the May deadline would have priority over the second round of applicants. The deadline to accept or decline a lottery position also was set as July 10.

On June 26, county officials said the county had 54 applicants for 40 open sixth-grade slots, 22 applicants for eight open seventh-grade slots and six applicants for 18 open eighth-grade slots.

True at that time said the city had 73 applicants for 40 open sixth-grade slots, 25 applicants for 21 open seventh-grade slots and 34 applicants for 20 open eighth-grade slots.

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