Cleveland City School Officials Decline To Put $1 Million In Fund Balance Toward Gym Project; May Cut Scope Of Facility Instead

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - by Tony Eubank
Board members Richard Shaw and George Meacham
Board members Richard Shaw and George Meacham
- photo by Tony Eubank

Cleveland City School officials, in a special session on Monday, declined to put $1 million n fund balance toward the project to replace the Cleveland High School gymnasium. Instead, there was discussion of cutting $1 million from the scope of the project.

The Cleveland City Council had agreed to fund the bulk of the emergency project, but requested that $1 million from the school system’s fund balance be used to pay part of the cost. 

 The Cleveland City School Board voted to approve a letter of response that reads in part as follows, “It is with great enthusiasm that we, the Cleveland City Schools Board of Education Members and Director of Schools, thank you for your recent support of Cleveland City Schools. The vote for the new gymnasium complex was both needed and warranted. We have received hundreds of congratulatory comments, and the city residents seem pleased with this decision to build a facility for the future. This facility will serve the city of Cleveland as a community center as well as a gymnasium for Cleveland High School and numerous other organizations. We are proud that you, as council members, stood fast in the face of adversity and made a decision that was best for the students and future residents of Cleveland. We cannot ignore some of the comments made in the Cleveland City Council Meeting on Monday, April 14, 2014. The call for the Cleveland City Schools Board of Education to use $1,000,000 of our fund balance simply cannot happen. Our fund balance is used to cover months when tax money hasn't come in yet from the City of Cleveland and Bradley County. We hover just above tine 3% Fund Balance required by the state. The Cleveland City Schools Board of Education is blessed to have the half cent sales tax funds which we have used with great success. This revenue is our only source for capital projects. This revenue source was passed with the promise that it would not be used for major capital projects.”

Cleveland City Schools Director Dr. Martin Ringstaff said, “We would not have the cash flow to run the school system through the school year if we were to take $1 million out of our fund balance.”

Dr. Ringstaff said that in conversation with the architect, he had learned that there are ways to reduce the cost of the project, “What I would recommend to the board is capping the project at $11 million instead of $12 million, and that would be the one million that they’re requesting. We give it to them by not taking it rather than writing them a check,” said Dr. Ringstaff.

Richard Shaw asked what the contingency would be should the project go over budget, or if there is only one contractor bidding for the job. Dr. Ringstaff said that the $11 million cost includes a $500,000 contingency, a guaranteed maximum price, and that the final cost of the project could actually be much less that the guaranteed maximum.


Get Emailed Headlines From Chattanoogan.com; Like Us On Facebook, Twitter For Instant News

We send out headlines each day of the latest Chattanooga news. Our news headlines have links that take you to the stories with a click. We also send out special emails if there is a highly significant local news story breaking so you will be aware of it quickly. To be added to the email headline list, just email us at news@chattanoogan.com In addition, like us on Facebook ... (click for more)

Cleveland Officials Getting Impatient With Joe V. Williams On Fixing 2 Old Downtown Buildings

Cleveland officials indicated they are getting impatient with Joe V. Williams regarding progress on rehabbing two old downtown buildings. A section of one of them - the former female academy near the Lee University campus - dates to 1854. The other is the old Hardwick Clothier building across from police headquarters and just down from City Hall. Jonathan Jobe, who heads ... (click for more)

Do Something To Protect Our Children

It is unconscionable in this day and age that these children had to exist in such deplorable conditions and that an innocent baby suffered and died alone in a locked car.  Yes, there is blame and accountability considering this family had child neglect charges filed a few years ago (that were apparently dropped and expunged) and a large part of the responsibility should ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Not Many Know This

The best story of the summer – by far – came out of Panama City over the Fourth of July weekend when over 80 total strangers on a Panama City beach responded to screams. Two boys, ages 14 and 11, were caught in a rip tide and all of these “angels” quickly formed a human chain -- over 80 people with their arms locked -- to stretch out in the water, reach those kids and tug them out ... (click for more)

Lookouts Rally Falls Short In Sunday's 6-4 Loss At Mobile

MOBILE, Ala.  -- Sherman Johnson hit a two-run double in the second inning, and Alberto Triunfel singled three times as the Mobile BayBears topped the Chattanooga Lookouts 6-4 on Sunday.  Trailing 6-1, the Lookouts rallied for three runs in the eighth inning but that would be all for the night. Lookouts starting pitcher Felix Jorge (8-2) was shelled for the second ... (click for more)

Thompson, Bell Win Scenic City Scorcher Race

Saturday was another record-breaking day for runners in Chattanooga and we aren’t talking about the heat and humidity. It was the third-annual Scenic City Scorcher two-mile race held in flat and fast Heritage Landing where 48 of the 120 participants broke a Tennessee state record for their particular age. Christian Thompson was the overall winner for the second-straight year ... (click for more)