People speak out about funding for Hamilton County Schools

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HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — After the Hamilton County Commission allocated $100 million for school capital projects, parents, educators, and education advocacy groups want to know where the money will go.

The Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts was built in the 1940s. Faculty members say the building is showing its age.

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“We have got all kinds of structural issues which everyone is aware of. But what we are asking for is a new K through 12 building. Currently we have 449 students and a new building would house over 1200 students,” said Jennifer Parris, the admissions director at CSLA.

Last week, the Hamilton County Commission moved to allocate $100 million of new money for school capital projects. At CSLA, they are hoping some of that money will help the school.

“There are a lot of needs within our community. We are personally hoping that they are going to honor the school board’s list of projects that they put fourth last February which names CSLA as number two in needing to be rebuilt,” Parris said.

UnifiEd has called for the Hamilton County Board of Education to initiate an audit of the school system’s capital needs and the creation of a multi-year capital plan. They wrote a letter detailing what they want.
“What we are asking for in the letter is for a complete assessment to be done for all of the potential needs, not only what maintenance needs we have but also what are the population trends moving into the future, what is the current state of the buildings in Hamilton County,” said Jonas Barriere, the executive director of UnifiEd.


In response the Hamilton County Department of Education stated they look forward to tackling some of the $200 plus million in deferred maintenance and construction with the new funds.

At CSLA, they are hoping they’ll be able to accommodate even more students in the future.
“We think that the opportunity that CSLA could create for students all over Hamilton County would just really be an asset to the county as a whole,” Parris said.
In a statement, the school district says the superintendent will work closely with the school board to decide which projects on the comprehensive facilities plan will benefit from additional revenues generated.