Soddy Daisy Middle School Should Be Top District 1 Priority - And Response (2)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

There is a reason so many people hate politics. Sometimes the spin and misinformation spewed just gets to be too much. Good hard-working, common sense people can only take so much of it before they cry calf rope - and I am going to cry calf rope.

For those who want to sing praises for a tax increase, the least that can be done is to state facts and not facts as you want them to be. Of the reasons some have stated for pushing for a tax increase, the track at Soddy Daisy High should not be one of them.

The track at Soddy Daisy High has been in the works for years! In 2014, Fred Skillern earmarked $100,000 for the estimated $500,000 project. The additional money needed to finish the project is coming from the sale of the old East Brainerd Elementary School property (discussed at a school board meeting many months ago) and monies from fundraisers - not money from this property tax increase. The hope is to start work on the track as soon as football season is over. But, how can that possibly be when the taxes from this increase have not even been collected yet? A little common sense goes a long way.

If there is going to be a tax increase, I want to be sure District 1 gets their fair share. So, I hope some of this construction money can be used for a renovation and addition to Soddy Daisy Middle School. The portables at Soddy Daisy Middle have been there at least 40 years. The traffic flow for buses and cars before and after school is a nightmare as well as a hazard. Years ago, Commissioner Skillern and I discussed a plan with Gary Waters for Soddy Daisy Middle that would add new classrooms (to get rid of the portables), and a new cafeteria in the back of the school and then turn the current cafeteria into classrooms. The plan would also make the bus drop-off in the back of the building and the car drop-off in the front. This project is somewhere in the $10 million range and should be very doable.

Projects need to be prioritized and I plan to make Soddy Daisy Middle my top priority when the School Board discusses how future construction monies will be spent. I hope all parents with children in District 1 elementary schools who will be going to Soddy Daisy Middle School will join me in asking Commissioner Fairbanks to make Soddy Daisy Middle School his top priority. After all, it is “for the children” isn’t it?

Rhonda Thurman

District 1

School Board

* * *

Here we see why average folks always oppose a tax hike - when we give an inch, they take a mile. Not even 24 hours after the vote, Ms. Thurman is already angling for 10 percent of the school money for one school out of 79. The sharks have begun to circle, all determined to get their "fair share." If this is everyone's idea of a fair share, we'll be way over budget and right back in this position next year. 

The phrase "for the children" is not a magic spell that absolves the county from fiscal responsibility - a fact I wish the county commission had learned before Wednesday's vote, but better late than never.

Charles McCullough

* * *

Mr. McCullough, Mrs. Thurman was elected to as you say "angle" for a share of construction money. One of the duties of a school board member is to advocate for their district. Her constituents didn't elect her to sit idly by and have money spent elsewhere when she believes Soddy-Daisy Middle needs to be replaced.

I'm not advocating for raising taxes to be spent on foolish schemes, but many of our buildings in Hamilton County were built in the 1940s and 1950s. They are not all wired for electronics used in 2017. Many don't have cooling systems to handle temperatures in the upper 90s as needed now that school starts six weeks before summer officially ends in the south. And some are crumbling. Just ask the parents at CSLA.

If you look at census figures for 1970 and compare them to 2017 you will discover Hamilton County has almost 100,000 more people than nearly forty years ago. We need classrooms to accommodate the growth we've experienced and that requires money.

And if a school board member doesn't advocate for their district, why elect them?

Ralph Miller


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