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.


Summer Leadership Program Available For Rising High School Seniors

Berry College in Rome, Ga., is now accepting applications for its summer program, Preparing Leaders for Ultimate Success (PLUS . ) The application deadline is  April 20 . Berry student Megan Michel, a PLUS alumna from Signal Mountain, said the program gave her the opportunity to get a taste of college life. “My favorite part was just getting to know other people ... (click for more)

Girls Inc. Camps Challenges Girls To Think Internationally

Girls throughout Hamilton County will be immersed in global cultures and traditions at two hands on Girls Inc. spring break camps.  The camps will be held at Brainerd United Methodist Church, 4315 Brainerd Road on Monday, March 30 through Friday, April 3 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Officials said, "In 'International Girl', girls ages 6-11 will experience a culture and heritage ... (click for more)

Haslam Adds K-12 Funds In Budget Amendment

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam on Tuesday unveiled additions to the FY 2015-2016 budget that will be considered by the General Assembly in the coming weeks, including added funding for K-12. The governor last week met with school superintendents from the largest systems in the state over the issue of state funding for K-12. The next day, the Hamilton County Schools joined ... (click for more)

City Detective Who Was Arrested Twice In 4 Months Is Fired After Internal Affairs Investigation

A city detective who was arrested twice in four months has been fired by Police Chief Fred Fletcher. David Catchings had been charged with DUI last September and then with domestic assault at the end of the year. Police said, "After a complete review of both investigations – which included recommendations from Internal Affairs, the Administrative Review Committee and Officer ... (click for more)

Physicians Thank Their Patients On Doctor’s Day

March 30 has been set aside as National Doctors’ Day since 1933 as a time to recognize the contributions made by our physicians. While the recognition is appreciated, our greatest satisfaction comes from caring for our patients.  For 132 years, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society has been the physicians’ voice as we worked together to improve health of our community. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Goodbye, Dr. Nassour

About 51 years ago, right after Jim Creel had graduated from the University of Texas and was in Guadalajara for medical school, he was surprised to find a complete stranger sitting on his battered and dusty Volkswagen. “He had seen my Longhorns sticker and was thrilled to find somebody else in Mexico who loved the University of Texas. “That’s when our friendship started and it ... (click for more)