Bradley, Cleveland schools pushing for wheel tax - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Bradley, Cleveland schools pushing for wheel tax

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BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- School systems in Bradley County and Cleveland are making a big push for residents to support a new wheel tax. And some have asked why school systems are promoting a tax.  

Administrators say it's because they can, and they should.

Any additional tax is never an easy sell.  But school leaders in Bradley County and Cleveland say a proposed wheel tax is worth fighting for.  They've taken to their websites and school signs to encourage the passage of a wheel tax: $32 for autos, $16 for motorcycles, payable each year upon renewal of registration.

Some critics say schools shouldn't be taking sides in a campaign issue. But Bradley County Superintendent Johnny McDaniel says as an educator it's his right, and his duty.

"Public schools are supported by taxes, in America, across the U.S.A.," he points out.

The wheel tax, if passed, would help fund improvements both to Lake Forest Middle School and Walker Valley High, plus build a new elementary school in the southern part of Bradley County to help replace Blue Springs, which was severely damaged in last year's April storm.   

It would also fund construction of a new elementary school in North Cleveland in the city system.  

Many options were discussed, and commissioners decided to put a wheel tax on the ballot.

"They've put it before the voters," said McDaniel. "Elementary school for Cleveland City Schools, also."

We spoke to Cleveland Schools Director Martin Ringstaff on the phone, and he told us that the steady population growth in the county and city makes the new facilities not just something on their wish list; it's on their must-have list.

Voters in Tennessee head to the polls on Thursday, August 2nd.

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