Redefining Bully

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Bully- to treat (someone) in a cruel, insulting, threatening, or aggressive fashion.

That definition is per Merriam-Webster and it is far from what the Hamilton County School Board is. If my short-term memory serves me right Roy Exum was just yelling Stay, Signal Mountain, Stay and practically rattling off reasons for Signal Mountain to stay a part of HCDE.

I don’t have a horse in this race, but this opinion piece by Mr. Exum is one that lacks simple facts by Mr. Exum who himself called the idea of a split “embarrassing” to the people Signal Mountain.

Why would HCDE transfer these buildings when Hamilton County taxpayers paid for them? As a resident of Hamilton County that does not live on the mountain I’m proud that seven of our school board members realize this fact and stood up to prevent it, but I’m also extremely disappointed in my own school board member David Testerman whose only defense was “we need to wait till they vote” and “we don’t need to get involved in the politics of it.” The latter assertion was beautifully rebutted by School Board Member Joe Wingate.

The idea of selling the buildings is also absurd. I’m guessing Mr. Exum and some on the mountain have forgotten about the student who lives in the unincorporated parts of Hamilton County and Walden. HCDE would still have students to serve and those schools would still be in use and that’s clearly what the resolution passed on Thursday night said. Per the SSVC final report “students who reside in Walden and the unincorporated area of Hamilton County on the mountain could be guaranteed enrollment in a Signal Mountain school district based on board policy.” This means that the students in Walden and unincorporated parts of Hamilton County have no guarantee they can attend the newly formed Signal Mountain School District.

Mr. Exum also calls out the School Board for not fighting for more education funding in the FY

2018 budget but is now endorsing  a reduction in educational spending per student on Signal Mountain. Per the SSVC “HCDE has an annual budget of approximately $363 million and a little over 43,000 students, which works out to about $8,430 per student. A Signal Mountain school district would have 2,430 students and would receive about $19.9 million from state and county funds that currently go to HCDE on behalf of those students, which works out to about $8,190 per student. There is a deficiency of about $240 per student.”

So, Mr. Exum, if you call pointing out facts and sticking up for Hamilton County taxpayers bullying then I would take a second look at how you define the word bully.


Tucker McClendon

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