published Friday, June 8th, 2012

Hamilton County school board member David Testerman against three-way land swap

Hamilton County school board member David Testerman came out Thursday night against a three-way land swap that would trade away East Brainerd Elementary for property to build a new stadium at the Howard School of Academics and Technology.

Testerman released a statement, saying he was surprised by the deal Superintendent Rick Smith offered to be part of in March, which affects part of his district.

In the deal the city would trade Dogwood Manor Apartments to the Chattanooga Housing Authority. CHA would give up the former Poss Homes site to the schools. The city and CHA would divide the schools' East Brainerd Elementary site. Cash exchanges also would be made.

"The community around the school has not been consulted at all about this -- at the very least, this is a serious breach of transparency in the government process," Testerman said.

Though he said Howard needs a new stadium, the school board's goal should be building classrooms, he said.

He also questioned why the schools would hand over rights to East Brainerd now, when the school will be needed for at least two more years.

Many county commissioners are openly opposed to the trade, and the City Council will decide whether to approve its part on June 12, after voting Tuesday to defer for a week.

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