For 2018-2019, Rutherford County educated almost the same number of public school students we did with a budget within 1% of ours. That's where similarities end.
We operate 79 schools; Rutherford operates 47. Based on the relative performance of students, there's not a positive correlation between academic performance and number of buildings in a system. In addition, Rutherford's system has approximately 650 fewer employees than Hamilton County's.
Before we agree to a large tax increase for schools, we need to address why we operate 32 more schools educating approximately the same number of students and requiring 650 more employees.
How much of our budget is used to replace roofs, HVAC systems and maintain schools that should have been replaced decades ago with more efficient ones? Instead of paying janitors and maintenance employees, shouldn't we be paying teachers more? If the most important member of the education team is the school's principal, wouldn't it be better to hire fewer but more talented principals?
For decades, the county commission and school board have not had the political will to rationalize our system. Instead of spending for academic excellence, we maintain inefficient buildings.
Our students are overschooled and undereducated.
Fred Decosimo, Signal Mountain
Supporting more taxes for schools
That is the percentage of living wage jobs in Hamilton County that will require education or training beyond a standard high school diploma. This means that if current and future generations want to make a decent living, raise a family, and save for their future, they must have more than the basics.
Right now our high schools are partnering with businesses to make this happen. There are special training classes to utilize modern tools and technology. There are apprenticeships where students can gain work experience and training before they graduate. There are advanced classes in science and math that count toward college credit.
The truth is that we need to do more. That is why I support the newly proposed budget for the Hamilton County Department of Education. Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson and his team have demonstrated that they understand we must meet the needs of a changing economy.
An increase in taxes to support expanding these programs will yield exponential benefits for our county.
Sees criminality in Mueller report
I have had the redacted version of the Mueller report for a few days (less than $2 on my digital device), and it is quite overwhelming in its denseness and implications of criminality.
I won't read it all, and I'm a reader who is retired with plenty of time — it is just too much. But I did read introductions, summaries, some portions and conclusions. It is all there, and anyone who says that it isn't damning is either lying or hasn't read it.
As I looked at the subheadings in the table of contents, it caused me to think of A.A. Milne's famous "Winnie the Pooh" and its table of contents that perfectly describes the events in the chapter "(In Which) Pooh goes visiting and gets into a tight place" or "(In Which) Piglet is entirely surrounded by water". This might correspond to "The President orders Priebus to demand Sessions resignation" or "The President directs Trump Jr.'s response to press inquiries about the June 9 meeting".
In short, there is a good summary of past presidential events found in the Mueller report table of contents; Trump as Winnie the Pooh.
Byron Chapin, Hixson