School Board Challenges Status of $750,000 in State Funds for Howard School
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – “The state doesn’t have a very good history of taking over under-performing schools and turning them around,” says Hamilton County School Board member Joe Smith. The state of Tennessee proposed taking over Orchard Knob Middle School with a pilot program.
In addition to taking over Orchard Knob, they promised $750,000 to Howard School.
“Well now the state comes in. They want to do another pilot in that school. We don’t need a pilot at that school. And they said if we would let them come in and do their pilot, then they would give us funding for Howard School. So it’s extortion in my opinion,” says Smith.
Now the school board did vote 6 to 2 against the state coming in to take over Orchard Knob Middle School with this pilot program but whether or not Howard High School will still get this $750,000 is unclear. Smith did say the state has never taken over a Hamilton County school before.
Orchard Knob Middle School is one of five priority schools in the county that has been a focus of officials to turn around. They say Orchard Knob is close to being removed from that list, and without the state’s help.
“So now at the finish line, the state is saying let us do a new pilot. It’s like using our kids as guinea pigs for some project the state wants to do and I’m saying no that’s not fair. We brought that school up. It’s soon to be off the state list,” says Smith.
News 12 placed multiple calls to state officials and haven’t received a comment. As the status of the Howard School funding becomes clear, we will keep you up updated.