published Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Hamilton County frees up $50 million for school construction projects

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    Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger
    Photo by John Rawlston.
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Hamilton County officials announced today that they will make an additional $50 million available for school construction without a tax increase.

The county has spent months reorganizing its financial house to take advantage of record-low interest rates to help fund capital projects, County Mayor Jim Coppinger said this morning.

“What we’re trying to do is enhance opportunities for our students,” Coppinger said. “We’re going to be able to make this funding available without an increase in property taxes or any new taxes.”

The money will arm the schools to meet growth projections resulting from new jobs with companies such as Volkswagen and Amazon.

The county’s announcement came a day after it received a bid on $86 million in debt that saved the county more than $2 million and 9.3 percent on its previous debt.

Maintaining its AAA bond rating from all three major ratings agencies allowed the county to make the $50 million available, Coppinger said.

Superintendent Rick Smith recently said that the county is at least a year behind in building schools to meet growing populations.

“Everyone has their own opinions about where the new schools should be,” he said. “That’s a process that should begin now.”

Read more in tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

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about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

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01centare said...

Must be an upcoming election on the horizon. ;->

October 26, 2011 at 2:20 p.m.
Humphrey said...

Some of the poorest rated schools in Hamilton Co. are in beautiful new buildings, some of the best rated schools are in crumbling down old buildings. I'm starting to think that building a shiny new building doesn't mean it is going to improve education. But I guess it would improve one's status if one had friends and families that were commercial contractors.

October 26, 2011 at 4:32 p.m.
chioK_V said...

Of course, you're right, Humphrey. But the powers are far too blind to see, too deaf to hear and much to complicit to really give a damn!* Note too, the strings attached? The money comes with stipulations and strings. The money can only be used for the building of new schools. The money can not be used for the refurbishing of older, much more solid historic ones. They'll buy those old historic buildings up and make a killing off of them. Then they'll string some old fabricated, steel trailers together and the unknowing will actually believe they have a new school. trick and switch.

October 26, 2011 at 6:03 p.m.
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