Disagreements Arise Over Proposed New Lake Forest Middle School

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - by Sarah Ruf

Bradley County commissioners wrestled with the possibility of promising projected surplus money in the future to a new Lake Forest Middle School building around 2017 during their work session on Monday afternoon.

After hearing a recommendation from an ad hoc committee to approve $14 million in the future for a new Lake Forest Middle School building, commissioners discussed options for fixing the troubled current site or building a new school.

The real question — where the money will come from to pay for any changes.

Some were wary of allocating funds so far into the future.

Commissioner Ed Elkins objected to “soft costs” outside of an actual building that were included in the $14 million estimate offered by the school board, such as new school furnishings.

“I don’t think it makes sense to borrow money over a 20-year period to replace things that shouldn’t be included in that debt,”he said.

“We are talking so far into the future, it’s really hypothetical,” said County Mayor D. Gary Davis. “If this money doesn’t come in, we are cutting it close.”

County Mayor Davis said funding for the project would not become available until 2016 at the earliest, solely based on revenue projections.

Commissioner Charlotte Peak Jones said the school board should tell the commission if cuts are possible at their end. “ I don’t think it’s the commission’s burden to handle alone,” she said.

Some commissioners wanted to move forward with a new building because repairs alone would cost around $6 million.

Commissioner Robert Rominger was one of them. “Something should be done without wasting money,” he said.

Commissioner Bill Winters, a former school board member, said the board was already making cuts and that a partnership with the commission would be ideal. “I think they want to know we do want this (school),” he said.

Vice Chairman Jeff Yarber reminded the commission his child recently attended the school: “It’s in dire straits.”

As the school stands now, water leaks into classrooms, the roof needs repair and there is not enough insulation between the interior and exterior walls, said Commissioner Adam Lowe.

Making painful cuts to services may be necessary to prioritize, he said.

But county departments are already operating on bare-bones budgets right now, Chairman Louie Alford said.

“I’ll never vote to cut any county department period,” he said with emotion.

“I’ll cut the devil out of anything,” Commissioner Lowe laughed.

Commissioners also discussed the possibility of eliminating the animal control contract with the city of Cleveland, offering a potential savings of more than $300,000.

Another option would be to just scale back on vehicle expenditures and base percentages only on animals while excluding calls to animal control.

Terry Caywood and Bill Ledford were not present. The commission will vote at their next session Monday, May 20, at noon.

You can reach Sarah Ruf at sarahruf@yahoo.com.

Validated Gangster Disciple Facing Carjacking Charges

Police said a man who is a validated member of the Black Gangster Disciples is facing carjacking charges. Samuel Lebron Horton Jr., 27, of 7740 Holiday Hills Circle, is also charged with possessing a firearm with intent to go armed. In an incident last Friday, an Hispanic woman said she was driving to the gas station to get some milk for her children when she stopped on E. ... (click for more)

Man In Long Police Chase With 4-Year-Old Daughter Unrestrained In Front Seat; She Is Injured When Vehicle Wrecks At Ridge Cut

Police chased a Chickamauga, Ga., man from Fort Oglethorpe to the Ridge Cut in Chattanooga, then learned after his vehicle crashed that his four-year-old daughter was in the front seat unrestrained. Police said the girl was bleeding on her face and body from lacerations suffered during the wreck and the deployment of the air bag. James Michael Farris, 22, of 152 Brock Road, ... (click for more)

Beyond Freedom Of Speech - And Response

Yes, most people know about the First Amendment to our Constitution, "The right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction."  I being a "deplorable" draw the line when people block traffic, try to disrupt, and even stop an activity through malice and disregard for others. Case being ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Where Is Central’s Auditorium?

I am surely one of the biggest proponents of high school athletics there is, especially after half a decade of being an eye witness to the vast array of lessons that are learned every day by anyone associated with sports. That said, I have watched the Hamilton County Commission waffle on a $500,000 track at Central High School with a certain curiosity because the same high school ... (click for more)

Cleveland State Adding Women's Volleyball, Cross Country, Restarting Golf

Cleveland State Community College announced Thursday that it will be adding women's volleyball, cross country and golf. Women's volleyball and cross country are brand new programs for Cleveland State, while the golf program will be restarting. These programs will begin in the 2017-18 school year. "This is part of our 'Cleveland State Community First Plan,' which is a strategic ... (click for more)

No. 3 Cleveland Sneaks Past Walker Valley 59-51

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – State-ranked Cleveland blew most of a 13-point second-half lead, but got clutch field goals from Deontae Davis and KK Curry down the stretch and managed to stay unbeaten in District 5-3A high school basketball action with a hard-fought 59-51 victory over rival Walker Valley on Tuesday night. Walker Valley’s girls defeated the Lady Blue Raiders 43-39 in overtime. ... (click for more)