In 1971, I was assigned to Elbert Long Jr. High School. My first impression of the school building was that it was not adequate for what we were expected to do as educators. Most classrooms had one electrical outlet.
There was no bandroom. For my classroom, I had to share the stage with other activities. And the instrument storage area was a closet. This was in 1971 and it is over 40 years later and the building is much the same way it was then except it is now the Chattanooga School for Liberal Arts. It is a magnet school with a much broader offering than in 1971. And its parents are strong supporters of public education and the school.
I did not stay at Elbert Long that year as a band director resigned and several of us were shifted around to cover his leaving. I have wondered how it would have been possible to increase my numbers in band in that small space. That was only how the old building limited me. I did not stay long enough to see how others worked out their prpblems.
This building was old in 1971 and it is even older now. Our students need an adequate building fo accomplish all that is required of students and teachers in 2012 and beyond. I encourage all Hamilton County School Board members and staff to place enlarging and replacing this building as one of the top priorities for new school construction.
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I used to work at Elbert Long so can understand comments made by Ralph Miller. There are more serious issues and they are the school system's ability, or I should say, inability to meet the needs of the community at large.
Faced with a gang issue and conclusions drawn by the Gang Commission, the school system is mentioned more than one time as part of any solutions possible if the school board and central administration stop thinking only of taxes.
I am from New York state and my brother pays four times what I do in taxes. The grumbling one hears about paying school taxes is ill served. One way or the other the taxpayer is going to pay. For the juvenile that has committed crimes he is housed in a facility that probably cost more then educating that same child and what I mean by education is a total package of not just academics but advocate and create the environment for the child to learn to read and learn to behave.
How about that? What a concept. Let us start with the child entering school, an ideal time for fostering better learners and better citizens. Let us include the role of the parent as one of the caretakers and help parents understand child development and discipline. Let's keep the school open in the evenings 3-4 nights a week. Let's bring the school community back to the communities they serve and allow the school to be one - the important one - central to the education of the whole child.
Robert J. Brooks
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I attended first grade at the CSLA building in the mid 1960’s. I went to my old elementary school building today. It is absolutely absurd that children are being sent to this dilapidated building.
Our local governments are building optional river walks, catering to the whim of every VW need, and gifting developers with bond issue and property tax dollars. At the same time, the needs of children are being ignored.
CSLA is a high performing school, and our local government must stop optional pursuits and take care of essentials.
Hamilton County has a great bond issue rating, AAA, because unlike the city of Chattanooga they know how to manage their bond debt. Further, Hamilton County Department of Education received millions in race to the top grant funds that are being squandered by the taxpayer leaches at the Public Education Foundation.
There are resources for children to build a new CSLA.
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I am so pleased to see that CSLA is finally getting some much needed attention within the community. We have such a wonderful community of students, teachers and parents and sadly, our building does not reflect our spirit.
CSLA is a multi-award winning school within the county and draws students from all nine districts. We also have hundreds of students on a waiting list trying to get into our school. Imagine the help we could provide in eliminating the overcrowding at other schools within the county if given the space.
We also have 40 acres upon which the new school could be built. Our school has had enough of being promised a building and then overlooked year after year. We feel it is our time and that our children deserve it..
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Our son, James, is thriving at CSLA. We sincerely value the magnet schools option that Hamilton County Department of Education offers to residents of our great city. We feel so fortunate that James is a student at Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts and is part of this community of learning.
CSLA has a 20-year proven track record of academic excellence, and it serves as a model for Hamilton County schools. I cannot say enough about the teachers/staff and the “magic” that is happening inside the walls of that crumbling building.
CSLA has been repeatedly promised a new building, and we have been discouraged over and over to see CSLA get pushed aside. It is our turn to be a priority. In the 1999 Facilities Plan, CSLA was scheduled for replacement in 3-5 years. In the 2011-2012 Facilities Plan, CSLA was again scheduled for replacement in 3-5 years. CSLA serves students from all nine districts in our county. We are a diverse and unique community-economically, racially, and culturally. CSLA has the land to expand in our current location, and our expansion will help alleviate overcrowding at other schools. We currently have 225 children on the waiting list for Kindergarten.
CSLA is a phenomenal school. Our students deserve to learn and thrive in a safe environment that they can be proud of. I encourage local officials to take a tour of CSLA, and see firsthand the condition of this school.