by Linda Moore
Quick! Duck! You'll be caught in the line of fire. Quick! Hide your wallet! You're going to be robbed. Ladies and gentleman the fur is flying all over Bradley County. I'm not positive but I'm pretty sure that the County Commission is going to cave into the Bradley County School Board. More interesting than the County Commission falling to their knees in submission is the fact that the City School Board keeps weighing in on the County School situation. There's a whole slew of fights going on over the schools. They range from the never ending mantra of "must have more tax money," to "not wearing blue jeans will help the system" to "it's the mayor's fault" to "God save the children".
Let's start with growth money that the school board will tell you that the "state gives us that money." They make it sound like that money dropped from the sky. It did not. That is tax money. That is your money. You went to work and dealt with all sorts of stress to earn that money. It was taken from you in the form of taxes. Growth money is not a forever money. It will dry up. It will dry up probably sooner than later. Let me tell you what you are spending per year, per student, for your child to be educated. Remember that every penny is a tax penny that someone worked for. Locally it is $6.072 Tax dollars. State is $7,469 Tax dollars, for a grand total of $13.541 dollars per student. Guess what? That is way more than enough to send your child to a decent private school. That money amount goes up every year and it will again go up this year. The Board of Education loses nothing without the growth money. They just want to spend the money. They'll tell you it's for teachers and books and computers. But that' always their mantra. Where will the money really go? Remember, there is enough tax money being spent per child, per year, to pay for that child a private education. We have 9,700 students and we have 595 teachers. That comes out to 16.3 students per teacher. Do you think that a teacher should have less than 16 students? 49.7% of students are economically disadvantaged. You now have almost 100 more Hispanic students than African American students. Here is your verification link from the state of Tennessee. http://www.k-12.state.tn.us/rptcrd06/system.asp
Quick Facts, According to the USA Census, folks in Bradley County average earning slightly over $18.000 per year. Average household income is $36,000 per year. Average teacher pay per year is $40,000 per year. You are paying health insurance for teachers, for elected officials, for all policeman, courthouse employees, on and on and on. Do you have insurance? How much do you pay for your insurance?
My husband thinks the new dress code rule is a ruse to draw attention away from the money wars. I don't think that at all. I think it's a power trip and I think that it takes us one step closer to socialism. City Board of Education member Dawn Robinson has weighed in for the County School Board in another paper with an impassioned letter as a mom and BOE member. Her message is that it, "sets a tone." It sets a tone all right Dawn, it sets the tone that we're all a herd of sheep. But tell us, can you prove that it raises grades or disperses bad behavior? No you cannot. You can tell us that the teachers say that it helps. You can tell us that studies tell us that it helps. You can tell us 1001. sounds good. but probably isn't exactly truthful stories. But tell us this Dawn, this is what we truly want to know, when, if ever, is the Mayfield school going to be completed? Or, are you perhaps sucking up to the county board of education so they will continue their war cry mantra of, "More Money," so that the city school board can get some more money to continue building the money pit called Mayfield? I would appreciate it if you would stick to city school issues, as in the money pit called Mayfield, before you start running the county school system. While I'm at it, I'm totally unimpressed with your appointment to the TSBA, Tennessee School Board Association, It's real purpose is to be a lobby in Nashville for the never ending money mantra for schools and to thwart allowing folks to elect the director of schools. Dawn, if you'd like I can tell all the folks about the scandals that rocked the TSBA and it's former leader. It's not a problem for me to expose government corruption. Focus Dawn, Mayfield.
Remember county residents, for every school loan you take out in the county, the city school board takes 1/3 of it interest free and you get to pay back 100% of it with interest. Hence, the city school boards war cry for the county board of education to get more money.
Of course mayor Gary Davis is being berated for taking a stand as a parent over the dress code. Does Gary Davis have children in the county school system? Yes he does. So then why should he not be allowed to speak out as a parent? Dawn Robinson made her public opinion known as a BOE member and a mom. Christy Critchfield was selected to review the dress code as a mom. Why is it not O.K. for the mayor to speak as a parent if he is one and does have children in the system? Let him be human and not just a shell like the rest of you have become. All I can think of in this scenario are the words, "pot, kettle and black." Thank you Gary Davis for having enough grit in your craw to keep it real.
People, America has a deficit. Bradley County has a deficit. We're in the hole. We owe money. We owe a lot of money. Doesn't it make better sense to save the growth money or at least to pay it on a prior growth bill instead of spending it before we even get our hands on it. Should we not be out of debt? Or do you want to be in debt and taxed and taxed some more? Eventually we can just turn all the money in and let the government divide it up as it sees fit.
Finally, it doesn't matter if your child wears blue jeans or not. Those blue jeans will not run over and start a fight with another kid. Those blue jeans will not fail or pass a test. Khakis will not raise grades and they will not keep your child from getting in a fight. More money will not help education at this juncture. We're already paying enough money to put every kid in a private school. You, the parent, by paying attention to your child is what will help education. You the parent should be in control of and in charge of your children; not the school system. You the parent are the one that sets the tone in your child and not the clothes they are wearing. Take charge and make like Nancy Reagan and just say no. Study the numbers. Don't believe me. Don't believe the boards of education. Check out what I say and check out what they say.
With all this said and even though I am at odds with both Boards of Education. I would like to thank, city board of education member Bill Brown. Bill Brown has always taken all of my questions and has always answered them in the most gracious of ways. Even when I disagree with Bill, I still very much appreciate that he takes time to explain things.