Allan Jones Gives Details Of His Better Schools Six-Year Plan

Monday, April 11, 2022

Allan Jones released the following statement about his Better Schools Six-Year Plan. The well-known businessman is a candidate for the Cleveland School Board. 

"Many of you have asked for more details about my Six Year Plan to fix the Cleveland City Schools System. While the plan will continue to evolve, here are my initial goals. 

"First, we will figure out what the problems are – why are the grades so low in our city schools? Why are we in the lower 24th percentile of standardized test scores in Tennessee?  I’ll get the answers by calling town hall meetings with teachers. In these meetings, there will be no principals, assistant principals or the superintendent. It will just be me and the teachers and a free flow of information. I do this with my businesses – I talk directly to the rank-and-file without their supervisors around to hear what their concerns are. This will be very effective when applied to our schools. Teachers will not speak up in front of their supervisors, but without them around I will hopefully be able to learn what they are really thinking.

"In these meetings, teachers will be asked not to talk about salary increases, but instead to focus on things like how to cut red tape so that they can spend more time educating students and finding new ways to increase test scores. I know there is too much overhead in places like the front office. I will reduce the overhead so the money can be spent in the classroom.

"I’ll bring back accounting and establish a world-class business department at Cleveland High School. We will also invite successful business alums to come and talk to the students on a weekly basis. This will establish a relationship between the alums and the school. These alum can be our greatest assets because they can demonstrate to the students how they have been successful in real life. 

"I have always had an interest in biology since childhood. Once I am elected, we will bring back the insect collection. We will also create a department head and hold this person responsible for the results of the students in the biology classes. Our new biology program will include lots of field trips and more practical, hands-on experience. 

"We will host several career days during the year, where we will emphasize the careers of successful alums who can come and speak to the students. This will enable our students who may not be sure what they are planning to do in life to get focused in their areas of interest. One of the most common questions young people ask me is, 'What should I do for my career?' My answer is always that you have to do something you enjoy and that you are good at doing. If you don’t like what you are doing in life, you will never be successful. 

"We will install a comprehensive purchasing department. Principals are currently allowed to make too many purchasing decisions. We will review things like where we purchase our school rings and who publishes the yearbook so we can negotiate better deals. Most people don’t know that there is a lot of 'wining and dining' that goes on with our principals. Once I’m elected, we are going to cut out things like principals being given Vols football tickets and other gifts as an incentive to hire a company or person for a job. These things will all have to be disclosed. The best example of this is the new electronic score board at Cleveland High School. It was made by a company called Daktronics. I have purchased around 500 of these electronic signs from this company – including in 1998 one of the first to ever been seen in Cleveland (the downtown “Jones-a-Tron”). 

"If the current school board had asked for my help before they purchased the scoreboard, I could have negotiated and gotten them a sign as large as the ones in major sports stadiums with newer technology. I’m talking about a scoreboard that would have filled the entire north end of the stadium. No other high school would have someone who could get them a deal like that. I promise you – I’ll get these type of things done. 

"Under our current school board, every time we create a new school we start from scratch and pay architects way too much money to design something new. What a waste. Once I’m elected, we are going to come up with a new design for schools that we can replicate over and over again. This will eliminate costly architect fees so that the money can go into the actual building. Architects love to wine and dine school board members, which became evident to me when we built the $8 million science wing at Cleveland High School several years ago. The school board actually attempted to eliminate the lowest bidder because they said they did not find a cover sheet included with the bid. Once they were threatened with a lawsuit, they magically found the cover letter stuck to a piece of tape in the bottom of the submissions box.

"Fortunately for our city taxpayers, the architects and builders don’t have enough money to wine and dine me. Anything they could offer me, I can buy for myself. The current school board likes to make fun of my wealth, but my wealth will benefit the taxpayers because I can’t be bribed with expensive dinners, tickets or gifts. 

"The athletic director at Cleveland High School is a very important position. We currently have two athletic directors at the school and their combined salaries are over $195,000. This is ridiculous – the director of schools is only making $150,000. We absolutely will not allow principals or anybody doing the hiring to give jobs to their friends with taxpayer money. I’ll put a complete stop to that. I don’t allow that at my companies and I won’t allow it to happen to the taxpayers of Bradley County. 

"Once I’m elected, we will go on a search for a great athletic director. The top school turning them out is the University of Ohio, where Tennessee’s Athletic Director Dany White attended. 

"The new athletic director will also become our chief fundraiser. He will be required to raise donations equal to his salary each year. I believe the athletic budget can be doubled through increased concession sales that will come from interaction with our community. 

"We will also create a Cleveland City Schools app that will notify you of any functions going on with football, basketball, wrestling and the other sports. We will actively be collecting emails and text numbers so that we can communicate the latest news to our fans. We will also develop an interactive web page that will be maintained by the student web design team. We will double our concession sales in football simply by moving to the old home side of Raider Stadium, which does not face the sun. (I’ve never seen a home side on a football field that faces the sun!) Since the parking lot is nearby this provide 10 times easier ingress and egress. The concession stand will be so close the people sitting on the top row can say, 'Hey toss me a popcorn!'

"We’ve got to be Number One in All Categories. We’ve created a culture of winning in wrestling, where more than 15 families have moved to Cleveland in recent years just to wrestle for Coach Josh Bosken. No families have been moving here to participate in any of Cleveland High’s other athletic programs or to attend the high school. 

"We will bring back the valedictorian and salutatorian. These were removed by our current school board chairperson and as a result, our top academic students have been denied recognition for their accomplishments. We will change this. We will continue to honor the Raider Scholars. By definition, the valedictorian is the student with the highest academic accomplishments and the salutatorian is second. The valedictorian will speak at graduation.

"We are going to bring back basketball at our elementary schools to create competition. We will utilize volunteers as coaches and will create a system where the head basketball coach at Cleveland High School and the Cleveland Middle School coach will work closely with the elementary coaches to integrate one system. This got disassembled by Charlie Cogdill. His plan was to have elementary kids come to Cleveland High for training. By simply integrating the high school, middle school and elementary schools into one basketball system, it will have a huge effect on our athletics. 

"We are going to take streamcasting technology to new levels at Cleveland High School. I am going to ensure our students know how to use YouTube and streamcasting to broadcast our athletic events. We will work with our local radio stations to help integrate this so that our children can be trained for the future. I have always been a leader in technology. I had the first automatic underground sprinkler system in Cleveland, the first private phone system in Cleveland, the first fax machine, and the first T1 line from AT&T that connected my house and office for real-time data. I also automated my collection company in 1981 and it then became the biggest in Tennessee. I could list many more areas of technology that I pioneered, but you get the point. I will use my fascination with technology to improve our schools immediately.

"I will immediately stop all of these crazy trips to Nashville and Washington so that school board members and our superintendent can 'testify.; Trust me – I have an entire lobbying team around the country for my businesses. I will know when we actually need to travel somewhere to testify. And I will send the right people. This will cut down on costs to the taxpayers for things like travel and entertainment, and it will leave more money for necessities. I’m sorry to tell our current school board members they are going to have to pay for the 'big shrimp' on their own. 

"Those are just some of my immediate goals. I will have many more once I am elected and can really examine things. But I promise you – together we are going to work together to make the Cleveland school system Number One in All Categories. It took my 6-year-plan in wrestling five years before Cleveland became Number One in Tennessee in wrestling. Grades will be just as difficult, just like moving a slow-turning ship. Our plan will focus first on grades 7-12, and then grades 1-6. We will be successful, but it can’t be done with our current school board – it’s going to take someone like me and the two other alums who are running. We just need your vote."

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