To the voters in District 2 in Red Bank, Lupton City, Stuart Heights, and Signal Mountain:
Comments from one candidate, Tom Decosimo, leads me to question if he understands the duties of a school board member and the needs of our school-aged children. Board Policy for Duties of Individual Board Members states, I will seek to provide equal educational opportunities for all children regardless of ability, race, color, sex, creed or location of residence.
Tom has stated he opposes the use of the word equity and its connotations.
“Equity is a bit of a loaded word to me.” If he sees the word ‘equity’ as a negative, how can he support equal educational opportunities for all HCDE students?
In May 2019, Tom disagreed with District 2 board member Kathy Lennon. He said, “I don’t disagree with what you say about hunger, supplies, and emotional needs, but HCBE is not where those needs will be met. The United Way, churches and the inner city need to address those problems.”
It is very regrettable he believes these specific needs are tied to the inner city. Tom, hunger is not defined by a zip code; it exists in our own community of Signal Mountain.
Margaret M. Smith, Ed.D.
* * *
Let me assure everyone, Tom Decosimo understands the duties of a school board member. Those duties, as per the Tennessee Code Annotated and Tennessee state law, are to set educational policies for public schools within this county. Some boards may define specific ideals within their policy book but every policy must be in line with state law.
The board has the authority to select a superintendent. And the board, superintendent and staff, recommends an operations budget to the Hamilton County Commission who alone has the authority to set the tax rate that funds the budget. That’s it.
As for “equity,” it doesn’t always mean equal opportunity. Progressives like to use it as a political cudgel against their opponents or evoke guilt at what one may have compared to others.
I know Tom and both he and I share the desire for each student in Hamilton County to be provided with every, and I emphasize every, opportunity to achieve their potential to becoming a healthy, successful and productive citizen. But the schools cannot be, as the progressives desire, the nurturing mother any more than the welfare system can replace the bread-winning father. Both can only be poor substitutes.
Let’s have progress in our schools without progressivism. Voters in District 2 have that choice. Please vote for Tom Decosimo for school board Thursday.