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. 

 

 



County Issuing Up To $235 Million In Bonds - Mainly For School Projects

Hamilton County plans to issue up to $235 million in general obligation bonds with the funds mainly to go to county school projects. The County Commission earlier approved a property tax increase to support the bond issue. Finance Director Al Kiser said there will be a 20-day waiting period in which taxpayers can protest the issuance. He said the county will prepare an ... (click for more)

Grand Jury No Bills And True Bills

Here are the No Bills and True Bills from the Hamilton County Grand Jury for Aug. 20. No Bills: BROOKS, EMILY LEANNE W 26 F 0 1 GS 1675804 POSSESSION OF FIREARM WITH INTENT TO GO ARMED COFFMAN, CRYSTAL GAIL W 45 F 0 1 SD 59104 THEFT OF PROPERTY COFFMAN, CRYSTAL GAIL W 45 F 0 2 SD 59105 THEFT OF PROPERTY DAVIS, DEJUAN DEWAYNE B 25 M 0 1 GS 1682670 POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED ... (click for more)

Vince Dean Saved The Day

Permit me to publicly express appreciation to Vince Dean. His calm, comprehensive and diplomatic arguments to the Chattanooga City Council against the administration’s ill-advised plan to segregate retirees and herd them unwillingly into a separate insurance plan unquestionably saved the day. The proposed new plan, if implemented, was certain to cause months of chaos and confusion ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Let’s Focus On ‘Better’

As I stepped away from the overflow crowd at  Monday  night’s Town Council meeting on Signal Mountain, I leaned in to tell Jean Trohanis how sorry I was to hear of the loss of her dearest friend. But in that millisecond before I could speak, the former but still-loved elementary school principal gave me her best hallway hiss and, with a pointed finger, she ordered, “You ... (click for more)

Hayes Surpasses 1,000 Points As Lady Canes Beat Walker Valley 54-43

East Hamilton sophomore Madison Hayes scored 17 points in a 54-43 victory at Walker County in Cleveland on Tuesday night and pushed her career scoring past the 1,000-point mark in the process. Hayes scored a team-high 19 points Friday in a 52-40 victory over Notre Dame in the East-West Classic, giving her 996 points in her career, including eighth-grade and freshman seasons ... (click for more)

McMinn County Slaps Soddy-Daisy With Two 5-3A Losses

McMinn County roared into Soddy-Daisy on Tuesday night and blasted the Trojans and Lady Trojans lop-sided victories in District 5-3A high school basketball action. The Cherokees (3-5, 3-0) blitzed the Trojans (3-5, 1-2) early to build a 26-14 halftime lead, built a 20-point lead and cruised to an impressive 58-30 victory. The earlier game was even more one-sided as the ... (click for more)