Schools dominate mayor's community conversations

photo County Mayor Jim Coppinger, center, talks with parents at Normal Park Museum Upper Magnet School. Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press

After Hamilton County commissioners selected Jim Coppinger in January for the county's top job following a tumultuous selection process, the new mayor decided it was time to change the conversation.

And for more than a month, the conversation has focused primarily on the county's schools.

Coppinger and his spokesman, Mike Dunne, arranged a series of community meetings at middle schools in all nine commission districts. The "County Conversations" often included the district's school board member and other elected officials.

"I thought it was important, given the process that we had been through with the selection, to go out and see as many people as we could in the nine respective districts," Coppinger said.