The Schoolhouse Heist Bill Will Kill Investment In Infrastructure - And Response (2)

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Senate Bill 1755 (AKA “the Schoolhouse Heist Bill”) is a bad piece of legislation that, if passed, would hurt our county and many others across the state. By allowing municipalities that start their own school districts to take property and buildings from county taxpayers - for free. Why should new school districts get something for nothing and stick taxpayers with the bill? 

This bill would kill investment in infrastructure - and we all know the state our school facilities have found themselves in in recent years after more than a decade without new money for capital projects. The county made a move last year to invest in fixing and rebuilding our schools, but good luck getting more money to keep those new schools in good shape if SB 1755 passes! No commissioner in their right mind would invest in capital projects that could be seized from the taxpayers and left holding the bag. 

Senator Gardenhire represents southern Hamilton County, not including Signal Mountain, the neighborhood in our community that would benefit most immediately and directly from the passage of this bill. I’m left wondering why the senator would get involved in an issue in a district he doesn’t even represent with a bill that would harm the schools and neighborhoods of his actual constituents.       

Come on Todd, with all the issues facing our state and your district you waste your energy on this?Very disappointing. 

Joe Smith
Hamilton County Dept of Ed School Board Rep District 3 

* * * 

If HCDE had been willing to work with Signal Mountain in good faith, it wouldn't have come to this. The school board could have headed off a split by working to address Signal's legitimate grievances. Instead, they thumbed their noses at the Mountain, in effect saying: "Failing schools are more important than you, but you can't leave because we'll never sell you the buildings." 

SB 1755 is a unfortunate necessity to counter HCDE's hardball tactics. School choice and self-determination are as important as ever. Signal parents have the right to stay or leave as they see fit, making their own decision about what is best for their own children. It is not their duty to sacrifice their children's education on the altar of "equity." 

Charles McCullough

* * *

I am seriously beginning to wonder if Todd Gardenhire has enough to do with legislative duties and working only part time. The reason I ask such a question is the why of his latest proposal that Signal Mountain go right ahead and become an independent school system.

I must remind Todd that opening up that tangled web might cause further conflict for the taxpayers that have to assume, now, an independent and further, more costly school program.

Let us just say that Red Bank is next. They are already talking a bit. Then there is East Ridge or how about the tiny community in northern Hamilton County. They have one high school  or better yet, Soddy Daisy? 

The foolishness of such a notion begs not only questions why but what is his motivation? That factor is not at all clear. Over the years of his political life Mr. Gardenhire seems to involve in issues that voters do not approve.

Robert Brooks


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