School Board Holds Opening Budget Work Session

Thursday, March 06, 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.


Normal Park 6th Grade Students Learn About 3D Printing

Normal Park 6th grade students were captivated by Alex Cruikshank as he facilitated a brief demonstration and Q&A session on additive manufacturing through 3D printing on Wednesday. A programmer by trade, Cruikshank has quickly developed a passion and strong knowledge base about 3D printing. In the demonstration, he showed Normal Park students a variety of examples of 3D printed ... (click for more)

Local Colleges Receive National Accolades

Two Chattanooga-area colleges are receiving national recognition for excellence. Covenant College and Bryan College were ranked by U.S. News & World Reports among the top 25 Southern colleges.   In addition, Bryan College ranked as the #7 best value among all Southern colleges. U.S. News calculated value based on cost of attendance for students and quality of the education ... (click for more)

Teen, 17, Charged With Aggravated Rape In Attack On 69-Year-Old North Chattanooga Runner

A 17-year-old has been charged with aggravated rape in connection with an attack on a 69-year-old runner in North Chattanooga on Monday morning. The teen was identified by Juvenile Court officials as Diontae Smartt. Authorities said he has given a confession. Smartt has a detention hearing Thursday at 12:30. The incident happened at approximately 7:30 a.m. ... (click for more)

Berke Implements New Pay Plan For Chattanooga Fire Department

Mayor Andy Berke joined the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and leadership of the Chattanooga Fire Department to unveil the department’s new pay plan Wednesday afternoon. At a press conference at Fire Hall #1 on Main Street, Mayor Berke and IAFF Local 820 President Jack Thompson signed a memorandum of understanding which sets forth regular raises for fire ... (click for more)

Leaders Lead On Amendment 1

This week the Hamilton County Commission was faced with what I believe may be one of the most important votes they have cast during their tenure.  Granted, the vote was over a "mere" Resolution that resulted in no overt action or new law in our county.  But there are times when simply speaking Truth and taking a stand on a foundational Principle is paramount and as such ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My October Garden

Hark! It is the first day of October and, as I make my monthly stroll through the garden, I find a growing numbers of leaves and acorns. Autumn leaves are beautiful while acorns are nuts, thus you will get the idea as we make our monthly awards: A PRETTY LEAF to Phil Hughes after the Minnesota Twins pitcher came within one inning of earning a $500,000 bonus this season. The deal ... (click for more)