Signal Mountain Town Council holds meeting on school separation - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

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Signal Mountain Town Council holds meeting on school separation proposal

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SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, TN (WRCB) -

The idea of breaking away from Hamilton County schools has been an issue for more than a year and still no decision is in sight. 

On Monday night, for the first time, the town council took questions and comments from the public about the possible split.

There was standing room only at the meeting. It got to the point where the fire marshal could not let any more people in.

There are still two sides on the issue.

Mayor Chris Howley says as of now, he's not sold on breaking away from hamilton county schools.

“What are the advantages? Are there advantages to an ISD? Does it makes sense,” Mayor Howley asked. “I'm not sold yet. I'm totally not sold and it shouldn't be about me. This needs to be about our kids and our community.”

The Signal Mountain Town Council sat through about two hours of comments from the community.

Most of the crowd seemed to be against breaking away from Hamilton County schools.

READ MORE | Signal Mountain parents with "Stay with HCDE" want answers

“This conversation is causing uneasiness amongst the students and the teachers,” Signal Mountain freshman Carson Brock says. “A lot of the students know that there are teachers that if this were to happen we won't be able to have those teachers that we look forward to having since the sixth grade."

“We seem to be a very white, very Christian, rural community isolated on top of a mountain,” resident Linda Pillow says. “I think any move to isolate ourselves any further is a big move in the wrong direction.”

But some still believe there are the benefits to having an independent school district.

READ MORE | Signal Mountain committee says separate school district is 'viable'

“I come from an area where we have small local school districts and they work,” one resident says. “We have big city-county districts that deal with the issues that the inner cities deal with and we had small districts for the communities that dealt with very different issues.”

Mayor Howley says he still has five major questions regarding the split. He says he wants Hamilton County schools’ staff to answer them before he's ready to move forward with a decision.

But after a year of research and public forums, many are growing impatient.

The council plans to hold at least two more public forum's next month.

They're also meeting with the Hamilton County school board and staff in a few weeks.

The date for that meeting has not yet been finalized.

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