Smith elicits tepid response from Commission on tax hike for sch - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Smith elicits tepid response from Commission on tax hike for schools

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith lobbies before the Hamilton County Commission to fund his plan that would bring more than 33 million additional dollars to the table for education.

"We're asking for additional revenue," says Smith. "They'll have to figure out how to fund that revenue if they choose to."
Smith says if commissioners embrace the added funding, much of it would be earmarked for younger students.
"Most of those are targeting elementary children, we feel like the better foundation we have begins with a strong elementary department."

And while Smith says commissioners were receptive to the idea, some are on record of being opposed to any additional tax levied for schools.
Sabrena Turner is concerned of senior citizens ability to pay on a fixed income. While others feel the state of Tennessee should be paying the education tab. To fund Smith's wish list, a 40 cent property tax increase would be needed. On average, that would mean an additional 150 dollars annually for each Hamilton homeowner.

"If we don't take care of our children, we're going to pay a price for that later and so it's time for us to have this conversation in this community."
Smith has held multiple town hall meetings all across the school system in the hopes of garnering support for his enhanced educational budget.
And while he may have galvanized a solid base with parents and educators, it's less apparent here at County Commission.

Smith now looks toward June 2nd as the Commission and County Mayor Jim Coppinger will meet to address the 2016 budget.


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