School Board Holds Opening Budget Work Session

Thursday, March 6, 2014 - by Hollie Webb

In a Hamilton County School Board budget work session, Superintendent Rick Smith said that in terms of payrolls, "We have budgeted well, we are fine." In a previous year, the Board had to borrow money toward the end of the year for the payroll.

They also discussed making their budget more transparent. Any expenditures placed under the miscellaneous category will also be detailed in an itemized list.

Director of Accounting and Budgeting Christie Jordan said, "We do try to hold people accountable. There has to be a purpose for every bit of money in this budget."

Another issue discussed by the Board was the student to teacher ratio at some of the schools. State law requires schools to maintain strict classroom size limits. If there are too many students in one classroom, the School Board will be fined $25,000 per classroom breaking the limit.

Superintendent Smith pointed out, "We're so tight in some places that one or two students can push us."

Board Member Jeffrey T. Wilson also voiced concerns about the way bond money was budgeted to be divided among the school districts.

Talking about the breakdown of allotted money over the past 12 years, he said, "When you look at the total allotment of bond revenue all the way from District 1, $32 million, District 2, $94 million, District 3, $25 million, District 4, $57 million...and then District 5, my district, $4 million."

He continued, "Something is wrong." He said taxpayers in District 5 had paid the same amount of taxes and their schools only received $4 million over the past 12 years from the bond fund.

He said, "You have to look at system-wide need."

The School Board will present their budget to the County Commission next Wednesday.


Suzuki Named Executive Director For UTC International Programs

Takeo Suzuki has joined the administration at UTC as executive director of International Programs. Mr. Suzuki has most recently served as executive director for International Relations at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith.  “We are very fortunate to have Takeo joining our team here at UTC," said Dr. Jerald Ainsworth, UTC provost.  "He brings a depth of experience ... (click for more)

Fifteen Baylor Seniors Chosen For Round Table

Fifteen Baylor seniors have been selected for the school's 74th Round Table.  Founded in 1942, the literary discussion group emphasizes independent thought and lively debate.   Selection to Round Table is considered to be among Baylor's highest honors, said officials. Members are Vice President Anna Barot, Cassie McCarley, Maggie Holmes, Secretary Maggie Pierce, ... (click for more)

DA Pinkston Asks City Police To Investigate Fatal Shooting By County Deputies Of Man They Chased Into The City Limits

District Attorney General Neal Pinkston has asked Chattanooga Police to investigate a fatal shooting involving Hamilton County deputies who chased a suspect from Old Lee Highway to Pine Marr Drive inside the city limits. At Pine Mar, the suspect crashed and shots were fired resulting in the suspect’s death.  DA Pinkston said he would have no further comment. Pine ... (click for more)

DISH And Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. Finalizing Long-Term Deal; Stations To Be Restored

DISH Network L.L.C. and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. have reached an agreement in principle that will form the basis of a long-term retransmission consent agreement for carriage of Sinclair’s local channels in 79 markets nationwide. Restoration of Sinclair signals to DISH’s system is underway. “We are grateful for the FCC’s work on behalf of consumers to actively broker ... (click for more)

The Obvious In School Test Scores - And Response (3)

I have been watching what has become an annual event in Chattanooga, which is the hand wringing and blame game associated with low test scores in our schools.  I keep waiting for someone to bring up what should be obvious unless they either don't want to talk about it or think they shouldn't because it might not be politically correct.   1) The highest school test scores ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Her Heart Will Go On

Tonight’s a big night in Las Vegas, one of the biggest in quite a while. Celine Dion, truly one of the most magnificent singers of our time, will return to the stage of the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace after a year’s absence and, if you dare think you can get a seat, it has been sold out for months. Of course, they say in Vegas you can buy anything, but tonight is one of the toughest ... (click for more)