Reservations About The Signal Mountain School Split

Monday, December 4, 2017

The first time most of us were aware that there was an effort to split Signal schools off from HCDE, and gain control of the buildings, was after the last election.  It’s possible that if it had been known, other candidates would have come forward.  Apparently only a small segment of the population was “in the know.” 

It should come as no surprise that there are many up here who have grave reservations about this idea. The idea of running a parallel investigation into the economic viability of an independent school system, separate from the Signal School Viability Committee, was floated by one councilmember, Dan Landrum.  He received no support from the other four council members.  The purpose of the parallel group would have been to challenge numbers and assumptions made by the SSVC.  Given the financial obligations an independent school system would put on this very small town, there’s no such thing as too much information. Given the impact on students and teachers, there’s no such thing as too much information. Given the impact on taxpayers, there’s no such thing as too much information. 

So, a group of dedicated citizens stepped in on their own time and on their own dimes to investigate this proposal and to fill a much needed void. This is in the best tradition of citizen engagement. Why would they do it? The bigger question is why wouldn’t they?  Why accept second hand conversations, held away from public scrutiny, as gospel?  Why not do what they have done and contact municipal, county, and state officials for answers to questions – straight from the horse’s mouth?  Signal’s organizational chart places citizens at the top of the chart – same thing goes for every level of government in the state.  We can, and ought to pick up the phone from time to time and make our own calls.  Send our own emails or heck, drive to county offices, or even Nashville, to state offices. 

The group of citizens who are checking numbers and relevant material are doing so knowing that they risk marginalization and retaliation.  I’ve personally heard a member of the SSVC, a volunteer, disparaged in public meetings for scrutinizing information that the SSVC was including in their report.  That member was not present to defend his statements.  This is something I’ve never heard before in all my years of attending town and county meetings.  It is odd that the majority of our town government would not welcome testing of their viability report.   

I’m still waiting for answers to questions that have been asked in public meetings.  It seems to me that questions have been answered – just not the questions that were being asked.  This may be the way of politics these days, but we should continue to reject any reply that isn’t straightforward.  
Again, it is unfortunate that this issue was not brought up during the past two campaign seasons.  The citizens of our small town are just now trying to play catch up and get a grasp on this situation.  Kudos to those who are doing their dead level best to keep the record straight.   

Melissa Cantrell



Chattanooga's Gun Problem

In the last two months we have seen a number of murders and shootings in the Chattanooga area and for the most part all of the perpetrators have a background, have been arrested and as crazy as it is, for gun related charges. My question for the powers that be is - what are you going to do about this problem? Chattanooga, at least downtown, is a tourist hot spot, tourism ... (click for more)

Good Riddance Of Mayor As Trustee Of The Confederate Cemetery

After reading the news piece titled, City Files Petition to Turn Confederate Cemetery Over To Sons Of The Confederacy, and prior articles quoting Mayor Berke on the subject of the historic cemetery, it is appropriate for the city to withdraw as trustee.  The public position statements of the mayor regarding the cemetery demonstrate that he is completely unfit to serve as ... (click for more)

Signal Facing Decisions On Expanding Commercial Area Past Albert Road, Mountain Community Center And Water Service

The design review committee (DRC) of the town of Signal Mountain is in the process of establishing standards for commercial buildings. In the meantime, developer Bob Elliott would like to buy property at the corner of Taft Highway and Albert Road. Albert Road has traditionally been where the commercial property ends. A number of residents in the neighborhood around that area are ... (click for more)

Initiative Launches In Support Of Signal Mountain’s Water System; Tennessee-American Says It Has Long Provided Clean Water To Signal

A citizen committee is urging Signal Mountain "to be vocal and choose local" in the imminent water department sale. The local group formed “Be Vocal. Choose Local.” after the town of Signal Mountain voted last May to initiate a Request for Proposals for the acquisition of its water department.  The committee urges the town to sell its water system to Walden’s Ridge Utility ... (click for more)

Bearettes Wallop Warren, 87-22, In Region 3-3A For 61st Win In 62 Games

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Bradley Central is the state’s No. 2-ranked girls’ team, according to MaxPreps. The Bearettes (29-0) is the District 5-3A tournament champion. Visiting Warren County has a sub-.500 record and is the No. 4 team out of District 6-3A. So, on Friday night at Jim Smiddy Arena, the Bearettes played the favorite’s role perfectly and humbled the Lady Pioneers, ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Teams Avoid Upset Bids By Sequoyah

Both Sequoyah basketball teams came to Signal Mountain Friday night for Region 3-AA quarterfinal games as fourth-place finishers in District 5-AA and both with losing records. Apparently, they weren’t ready to turn in their equipment just yet as they played like there was no tomorrow against the host teams. Both teams from Madisonville ended up on the short end of the final ... (click for more)