Commissioners, parents respond to Hamilton Co. school board priority list
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -
The Hamilton County School board says there are several schools in the district that are in desperate need of repairs or a new building, but chose Harrison Elementary as the top priority school. CSLA was second on the list due to its decaying building, and East Hamilton Middle/High was third due to severe overcrowding.
"I hope it's rebuilt because we were considering moving her just because of the conditions I wasn't really aware of," said parent Brittany Walline.
Parents said deterioration and plumbing issues plague Harrison Elementary. Built in the 1930s, it's housed generations of students.
"It needs to be top on the list my grandfather went here, he's 75," Walline said.
"I went to school here, my uncle went to school here, third generation, you know the faculty is amazing, the facility is not," said parent Seth Thomas.
The school board agrees but it's up to the county commission to approve the funding.
Education chair Sabrena Smedley said she was surprised to see Harrison Elementary at the top of the list.
"I will be going out to tour that school in the near future to see what kind of condition it's in, I wasn't aware that it even was in the top until reading the news last night," Smedley said.
But Smedley said it's possible none of the schools will get a new building this year. Commissioners have to consider funding for a few other large-ticket items, including a new county jail.
"And hey, we're the funding body, we want to spend all of our money on education and it's all about the students and that's very important but we've got to look at the jail situation and so many other things too," Smedley said.
Smedley said the next step is coordinating a joint meeting between commissioners and school board members. She hopes to have that announced publicly at the commission meeting next Wednesday.
Parents hope, in the end, students will come out on top.
"I mean we definitely want a new school here but at the same time there's kids all over the county that deserve it too," Thomas said.
Channel 3 asked the principal of Harrison Elementary if we could get a tour inside the building to see what some of those conditions look like but the principal declined our request.