School Board Considers $10 Million Budget Amendment
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — The Hamilton County School Board has passed their budget for the upcoming school year.
The budget creates funding for new 25.5 new positions, allocates six million dollars to address learning loss, and provides five million dollars for facility improvements and repairs.
But Board Chairman Tucker McClendon stood alone as he voted against the budget, describing the state of school facilities as a “crisis.”
“We as a district, we as a school board, future school boards have to be good stewards of our buildings. We haven’t been for two decades,” he said.
McClendon has shared photos from schools around the county, photos which appear to show water damage, damaged drywall, and general disrepair.
“It’s embarrassing, as a county, that we send kids, our 44,000 kids into schools like this, and that we ask our 6,000 employees to work in schools like this,” Mclendon added.
To address the need for renovation, McClendon proposed an amendment to the budget, which would add 10 million dollars in capital maintenance.
“We should be spending about fifteen million dollars a year on our maintenance. We have about 7 and half million square feet of buildings across this county, yet we only spend three million dollars,” he said.
If passed, the motion would introduce new money into the budget. It would not detract from the resources allocated to school staff.
“When it comes to education, we’re good at robbing Peter to save Paul, and we can’t keep doing that. We can’t say that we have to pick one thing. We have to recruit and retain our teachers,” he said