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.


Presidential Candidate Senator Ted Cruz To Visit Chattanooga Aug. 10

Senator Ted Cruz, a candidate for the Republican nomination for president, will be visiting Chattanooga on  Monday, Aug. 10 at 9 a.m . His stop in Chattanooga at the Hamilton County Republican Party Headquarters will be the first leg in a whirlwind bus tour across Tennessee and several other states.   His “Biscuits & Gravy” morning stop in Chattanooga will ... (click for more)

Man Shot On Walker Avenue Friday Night

The Chattanooga Police Department is investigating a shooting that happened at about 10:10 p.m. Friday at 1700 Walker Ave.  Officers were told the victim had been taken to a local hospital.  Mark Parker, 51, stated he was in the 1700 block of Walker Ave. when he was approached by a black male who pulled a firearm and shot him.  Mr. Parker sustained non-life ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Is A Blessed Community

I am an American by birth and a Chattanoogan by the Grace of God. (A phrase I borrowed from the late Lewis Grizzard and modified) I grew up in Chattanooga / East Ridge – Anna B. Lacey Elementary, Dalewood Junior High, Brainerd High, degree UTC.  My family lived in Chattanooga until March of this year but I’m still up every month visiting friends.   I have been following ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Fight For Lieutenant Commander White

The United States Navy has run a tight ship since it was founded in October of 1776. You’ll recall that was when Capt. John Paul Jones began to forge the steel with the words, “I have not yet begun to fight.” Some years later Adm. David Farragut etched himself into Navy lore when he cried, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” During the attack on Pearl Harbor, Lt. Howell Forgy ... (click for more)

CFC Hosts Indiana, Officials Hoping For 9,999+

 The Chattanooga Football Club is set to host the NPSL national semifinal match Saturday night at Finley Stadium.  CFC will take on the Indiana Fire who won the Midwest Region championship.   The game is set to kickoff at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.   Last year, Chattanooga hosted Sacramento in a national semifinal game and drew more almost 9,000 fans.  Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Orange Grove's Gonzales Takes Gold In World Special Olympics

Debra Gonzales, a resident at Orange Grove Center, is a world champion. The cute 21-year-old, who moved to Chattanooga two years ago, took first place in the shot put at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles after entering the event on a whim.  Debra’s winning throw of 4.49 meters bested a 4.30 heave by Darinka Pasapera of Peru while Grace Dindillo of Papua, ... (click for more)