What Is Gained By The Signal Mountain School Split?

Thursday, January 25, 2018

I have followed with much interest the recent activities in the Signal Mountain area of Hamilton County regarding our school system. Arguably, the schools in this area have the reputation of being the finest that our HCDE has to offer. 

Now, suddenly, we see a movement to withdraw these fine schools from their parent organization and make them a standalone education system. What purpose is to be gained as a result? 

One of the difficulties that would be encountered by the town of Signal Mountain would be the enormous costs of acquiring the physical school properties from HCDE. The multi millions of dollars involved are not on the table and in order to raise this sum of money, huge tax increases for the residents of the town would be in order. 

Yesterday, I learned that some person or group within the group that wishes to make this change has now convinced state senator Todd Gardenhire to propose a piece of legislation (Senate Bill 1755) that would force any county to sell to any municipality that formed its own school district, those properties that it owned at auction prices for presumably pennies on the dollar, thus neatly taking care of Signal Mountain’s potential problem.   Did I forget to mention that all of the residents of Hamilton County would be stuck with the bill for Signal Mountain’s grandstand play? 

Oh yes, there is the little problem of all of the students that live in the county on Signal Mountain, that is they are outside the town limits.  They would have to be bussed off the mountain by HCDE to schools in the valley or would be assessed some sort of fees to attend the same schools that they had attended the year before.  My question in all of this is just exactly who is gaining in all of this and what are they gaining? 

Steven R. Robinson

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