During a Bradley County Commission working session, Cleveland resident and commission candidate Dan Rawls said he would like "to draw some attention" to the $4.5 million federal grant being awarded to the Bradley County School system.
After a very competitive process, it was announced on April 8 that the Bradley County Schools had been chosen to receive the money over other places that had applied in Memphis, Nashville, and Chattanooga.
The grant would provide money for Bradley County Schools to prepare students for careers after high school in areas such as manufacturing and industry. The money would allow schools to develop programs to give students real world experience and skills.
Mr. Rawls asked the commission if anyone had read the entire grant. He said, "I feel that it's important that each time you accept federal money you read the whole grant." He said he was concerned that by accepting money now, they might actually have to pay more down the road.
He said, "There's never been a federal grant that did not have strings attached of some sort."
Vice Chairman Adam Lowe said, "Like Commissioner Morelock said, federal grants come from our federal tax dollars and there's still a federal budget that's out of control."
However, he said he had read the grant thoroughly and believes it will be a positive step. He said most costs would be startup costs, and that the grant "feeds into a lot of things that we fund privately."
He also said it would help in "exposing children to things where the jobs are."
Mr. Rawls said, "I just want to make sure that we didn't get this grant because the Bradley County Commission and the School Board put out resolutions against Common Core." He said it felt like Bradley County received the money after the county made a stand against Common Core. He said he was concerned this was another way for the federal government to give them obligations.
Commissioner Ed Elkins told Mr. Rawls to come to the next meeting and "report back" after he reads the grant.
Commissioner Bill Winters said the grant had nothing to do with Common Core, but with great efforts that have been made by the education department.
He said, "This is probably one of the most competitive grants that the state of Tennessee has had," and pointed out, "The folks that put it together read it pretty well."
During the meeting, the Bradley County Commission also discussed forming an audit committee. County Mayor Gary Davis said he was not sure if it was legally required or not, but said he would consult with their attorney.
It was also announced that the Bradley County Farmers Market North would open on Thursday.