Odd Signal Mountain Schools Bill - And Response (2)

Thursday, January 25, 2018

On Tuesday, Jan. 23, Senator Todd Gardenhire introduced Senate Bill 1755  which would compel, as a practical matter,  the elimination of county schools on Signal Mountain if the Town of Signal Mountain establishes an independent school district. 

The not-so-subtle bill is obviously no model of clear and precise drafting. But Section 3 of the bill plainly declares that all real and personal county school system property located within the boundaries of any municipality that has established an independent school district shall constitute surplus property which must be transferred - not sold - -to the municipal school district. 

All public schools on Signal Mountain, regardless of the educational level, coincidentally happen to be located within the Town of Signal Mountain’s municipal boundaries. Consequently, citizens living outside of the Town of Signal Mountain - approximately half of the mountain’s population - will apparently either have to attend schools off the mountain, pay whatever the Town of Signal Mountain commands to attend its schools, or convince the County School Board to build new elementary, middle and high schools outside of the boundaries of the Town of Signal Mountain. None of these prospects seems terribly well considered, much less fair and rational.  

It also seems oddly strange that Senator Gardenhire, who does not represent Signal Mountain, has discerned the need to sponsor this purportedly generic bill at this particular time. Perhaps Senator Watson and Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, who represent Signal Mountain, will be kind enough to share their input and/or views on the Gardenhire bill when time permits. 

David R. Evans
Signal Mountain

* * *  

I get the feeling that the timing of Bill 1755 is directly correlated with the Signal Mountain issue since the issue is currently under discussions. My biggest fear with a bill like this would be a  municipality surrendering their control to a county (we've seen this), having the county build up a large infrastructure with countywide assets and a broader tax base, only to have it robbed back by the municipality a few years later. 

I would like to see a line that would share the burden of cost along with the real property. If HCDE still owes millions on the SMHS property, then no highway man should be able to come in and steal it without taking over the associated debt of the property.  

Lastly, I would like to ask one question if this bill were to pass: if the city of Chattanooga decided to open up a school system, would the Main Office of the HCDE be handed over, along with all other real property within the building? 

Tim Giordano 

* * * 

On most matters I support State Senator Todd Gardenhire but this proposed bill to transfer all  
real and personal property that is located within the boundaries of the municipality and is owned by the county school system shall be declared surplus property by the county school system, and transferred to the municipal school system is completely irresponsible. 

Todd, you need to pull back and repent from that bill. Part of that property belongs to me Ronnie "taxpayer". I do have a say so and the next LVNA meeting I'll let you know precisely that in the discourse of a civil discussion.  

Surplus, are you kidding me?

Ron Ray



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