School Board Attorney Says Schools On Signal Belong To County Schools; Group Formed In Opposition To Leaving HCDE

Friday, June 16, 2017

County School Board attorney Scott Bennett told members of the board on Thursday night that a group studying the possibility of a separate school district on Signal Mountain cannot expect to have use of the current schools in the community.

Attorney Bennett said the schools on Signal Mountain "belong to the Hamilton County Department of Education."

Meanwhile, a group has been formed that is opposed to leaving the county schools.

Renee Shoop said, "There is a growing movement on Signal Mountain among the town of Signal Mountain and Walden, and unincorporated Hamilton County residents, to not form an independent school district."

The group has its own website at http://www.staywithhcde.org/ 

It says, "We are residents of the Town of Signal Mountain, Walden, and unincorporated Hamilton County on Signal Mountain. But we are not just folks who live on Signal Mountain. We are proud to be part of a larger community, and we oppose splitting off from our Hamilton County school system. 

We believe it is vital to work within the HCDE system already provided by our county tax dollars, rather than separating ourselves from our neighbors and friends. Our community is bigger than our mountain.

 

"The proposal for a Signal Mountain School District impacts families within Hamilton County, not just those living on Signal. Splitting from Hamilton County creates an appearance of elitism and is causing division and contention within the community. This proposal wastes time, effort, and money that could be better spent working within our current county system to continue making improvements to our award-winning schools. Let's use the system we are already paying for, instead of creating more cost to families and neighbors."

Kathy Lennon, board member who is from Signal Mountain, said the study group thus far has not included school buildings in its budget. She said the group needed a response from the county schools regarding the school facilities, including Signal Mountain Middle and High School, Nolan Elementary and Thrasher Elementary.

He said a law allowing municipalities to set up their own school districts does not say they could take title to existing schools.

The attorney also cited a 2005 agreement between the county schools, the county, Signal Mountain and Walden over funding of Signal Mountain Middle/High. He said the agreement called for the county to help fund the construction of the school and for the county schools to own the facilities. He said for that agreement to be overturned that all four entities would have to agree.

Attorney Bennett said since bonds to build the middle/high school are still outstanding that would also place limitations on any transfer.

He said should Signal Mountain go ahead with the separate school district that the county schools would still have an obligation to provide an education for students who may not opt to go to the special district school.

Attorney Bennett said when Germantown in Shelby County set up its own school system that it did not get control of Germantown high school, middle school and elementary. He said Germantown has offered $25 million for those schools, but no deal has been reached.

Board Chairman Steve Highlander said he hopes that Signal Mountain will opt to stay in the county school system. 

 

 



Travis Caslin, 42, Shot While Walking Along South Willow Street

Chattanooga Police said a man was shot on Friday night while walking along South Willow Street.   The victim was identified as Travis Caslin, 42.   At 7:37 p.m., Chattanooga Police officers were called to a local hospital after a person showed up with a gunshot wound.   Police were informed that the victim's condition was non-life threatening. ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AILEY, SLATON R  1130 DARTMOUTH ST CHATTANOOGA, 37405  Age at Arrest: 27 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE --- ANDERSON, EDWARD ANTONIO  2507 CURTIS ST CHATTANOOGA, 37406  Age at Arrest: 25 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DOMESTIC ASSAULT ... (click for more)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Myth And Fact Check

My husband and I recently had the privilege of participating in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Chattanooga. I listened as my husband told the audience about how his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when he was nine and how she died from the disease when he was fourteen. As a child, my husband didn’t understand what breast cancer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Bill Pennington, a sports writer for the New York Times, was lamenting the “huddle” is slowly disappearing in football due to the faster pace of the game and, during his search for more information, he called former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann. Bill wrote that Joe couldn’t stop laughing about the funny things that would happen between plays. Joe told this story: ... (click for more)

Mocs Fall 20-14 To Visiting Citadel

The Chattanooga Mocs fell just short in a 20-14 heart-breaker against The Citadel. It was a hard-fought game that went the full 60 minutes.   The Mocs defense stiffened and gave their offensive teammates a shot late in the fourth quarter. The Citadel marched 41 yards, churning out 5-plus minutes of game clock. Tae Davis dropped Grant Drakeford for a 3-yard loss at the Mocs ... (click for more)

Top-Ranked Alabama Smashes Tennessee 45-7

Tennessee, a 34-point underdog in one of college football’s better long-running series, stayed close for one quarter before top-ranked Alabama switched to another gear and pummeled the struggling Vols, 45-7, Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The rock-ribbed Crimson Tide defense locked down Tennessee’s ground game, hounded quarterback Jarrett Guarantano relentlessly ... (click for more)