Transparency is a good thing isn't it? It seems you prefer clouding the issues with phrases like the old "hand pick the students" one that's been going around for quite some time without one single shred of proof to support that allegation. The answer given however, whenever someone disputes the allegation is something along the lines of "well, we know what we know" without any evidence to back up whatever it is you think you know. This argument, of course, was stunningly effective when used by those who insisted that the world was flat and/or that the sun revolved around the earth and remains equally persuasive now. I have never implied that the parents alone deserve credit for the success of the school; that credit belongs mainly to the hard work and dedication of the staff and administration and the students themselves. Of course we appreciate the taxpayers money, but all of the schools benefit from that - again, Normal Park doesn't get any more than anyone else. The difference in the quality of the results the school consistently achieves surely can't be attributed to a difference in the quality of tax dollars. As far as your remark regarding the possibility of a monetary motive would indicate that you haven't been to North Chattanooga in the last few years or so. Take a drive through, you may notice a few new businesses/buildings/renovated homes/new homes, etc., etc. Coincidentally property values have taken quite a bump in that area. Don't take my word for it though, check out the facts for yourself.
hixsondave: please look up what the phrase "magnet school" means before posting anything else. Publicly funded private school? Do you have any idea how much in private funds have been donated by parents and local businesses? Apparently not. Normal Park doesn't receive any more than the average school from public funds - please don't take my word for it - check with the school board. As far as your quote is concerned - yes, more in-zone students have enrolled as time has gone by; that's because before all of the improvements made by parents and donors very few wanted to attend the school; since the improvements were made there has been a large influx of people into the Normal Park zone because of the school and its programs. Did you ever actually see the inside the buildings before so many worked so hard to make them the schools they are today? Again, apparently not. What about CSAS and the other magnet schools? Are they publicly funded private schools as well? And did you see how many Hill City families rushed to try for one of the five spots? Two kids - two. Again, this is all about making money from development in the guise of fighting for the underprivileged.
I suppose that for the people who have been so rabid about making changes this would qualify as an inconvenient truth. What do you say, hixsondave, et al? The people who really want changes are the developers who stand to make a lot of money by selling property at greatly inflated prices - not the kids in Hill City.
I'm curious to know the answer to that one.
hixsondave, you accuse others of being "the mafia" but can't seem to come up with anything but insults for anyone who has a rational point of view that doesn't agree with yours. If you want to do something productive, why don't you insist that the rest of the school board adopt the high standards that have been set at NPMM as the norm instead of wasting a lot of time and taxpayer money trying out how to fit all of the students in Hamilton County into one school that not so long ago no one wanted their children to attend - including the good people of Hill City (remember, they originally chose to attend Red Bank).
Here's an "irrational" argument for you from the parent of a Normal Park magnet student: NPMM is MAGNET school - therefore, it is to be expected that a large proportion of the student body would be from other school districts. If that one isn't rational how about this one: there are many children who live closer than those in Hill City who are not included in the zone - some of them have taken part in the lottery like the rest of us did (a system that wasn't set up by any "Mafia") and their children now attend NPMM - some of them don't; but you don't see them up in arms. You play by the rules that are established and if you win, you win - if you don't you don't. Maybe the Patriots would like the rules changed so they can replay the Super Bowl; if they don't win, they can always seek to change the rules again. As someone who pays close attention to the news I have noticed that it is not unusual for government bodies to change plans regardless of whether or not they were originally put forth as "promises." You might want to check out how many homes in the Hill City area have been put on the block at greatly inflated prices since the decision was made to work out a compromise. If you do this, you might get an idea of what the actual motivation is to keep this issue alive.
Thanks to Meece for a very articulate and accurate assessment of the situation at Normal Park and the issues related to zoning. Too much time has been wasted on fighting over this issue when the overall quality of education in our school system needs tending to. Wouldn't it be better if, instead of trying to find a way to fit all of the children in Hamilton County into NPMM, we concentrated all of our energy and resources into bringing the rest of the school system up to the very high standards established by Ms. Levine and her staff? Regardless of what Rhonda Thurman may say, NPMM's success is not the result of some mysterious conspiracy - it's due to the hard work and innovation of the teaching staff, the dedication of the parents, and the inspired leadership of Ms. Levine.