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.


Public Education Foundation Hosts Free College Knowledge Lunch Breaks

High school parents & educators from all over the Tennessee Valley are invited to attend the Public Education Foundation's free College Knowledge Lunch Breaks.  Other adults who work with or advise students on the road to post-secondary success are invited as well.   These monthly lunch time workshops will focus on college related topics such as essay writing, ... (click for more)

Lee University To Present Homecoming Music Festival 2014

As a part of the Lee University Homecoming activities, the School of Music will present its annual Music Festival on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. in the Conn Center. This year’s festival program will include familiar student ensembles Campus Choir, Chamber Strings, Evangelistic Singers, Jazz Band, Ladies of Lee, Lee Singers, Symphonic Band, Voices of Lee, and a group new to the ... (click for more)

Additions And Improvements At Camp Jordan Arena Coming Soon

Additions and improvements are coming to Camp Jordan Arena in the near future. At the Thursday night meeting of the East Ridge city council, approval was given for buying new playground equipment. It will come from Gametime, a locally-based company. The VP of Marketing lives in East Ridge and made a proposal to set up the playground at Camp Jordan so his company could use it for ... (click for more)

Teenager Killed In ATV Accident Thursday Night

Damon Lee Jones, 15, was killed Thursday night in an ATV accident in Walker County. It was reported he was riding with a 17-year old, when they tried to enter a church parking lot, but ran into a cable barrier. The accident happened on Dunwoody Road in LaFayette. The other rider, identified as Timothy J. Wallin, was not injured.   (click for more)

Not Everything Has Been Done To Save Hutcheson

I am a resident of Walker County and I have a personal belief that a hospital ranks equal to other basic services a community should offer (like police, fire, emergency services, school systems, government, etc.). I am not privy to all the management and financial conundrums concerning the feasibility of maintaining and growing Hutcheson, and as a private citizen I don’t believe ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Veterinarian’s Horse Sense

I suspect you’ve heard by now that a doctor in New York City, who volunteers with “Doctors Without Borders,” just got back from the African nation of Guinea on October 17 – last Friday – and on Thursday tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus. Luckily, he came in actual contact with only a few people but he reportedly rode a subway, took a taxi, went on a three-mile run and ... (click for more)