CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The controversy over the failure of a 34 cent tax increase for schools is not quite over.
A commissioner today accused a school board member of showing disrespect for county leaders.
News 12’s Ashley Henderson reports.
One of the strongest opponents of the property tax increase for schools is East Ridge commissioner Tim Boyd. He was one of 5 commissioners who voted against the measure…which was heavily promoted by the school board and numerous citizen groups.
School board member Kathy Lennon wrote an op-ed for the Times Free press Monday ..saying of those 5 commissioners – quote: “They made a statement. They made a choice not to support public education, not to support our children. ”
That brought strong words today from Boyd.
“Dr. Johnson, these five commissioners are going to be on the – this same dais next year, when you ask for another tax increase. And I’m not going to forget, school board Lennon’s degrading remarks about me not caring about the education of our children.”
That comment got this response from Commissioner Greg Martin.
“I don’t know that it’s really our place to critique and article, or an op-ed here on this dais, there’s other venues to do stuff like that.”
But Boyd told news 12 after the meeting that –
“It can’t be more appropriate to do it from the dais, she’s addressing the commission. I’m addressing her as a commissioner. She wants to address the commission in private, call me. She wants to address the commission in public, in ink, she’s going to get my response from the dais.”
We spoke with school board member Kathy Lennon who told us she didn’t want to get into a personal argument….replying to his criticism..but she did want to make some points in a printed statement.
“I was elected to ensure 43,000 children receive the best possible education in Hamilton County. My primary concern is advocating for those families, not worrying about the feelings of other elected persons who do not share that priority.”
Boyd meanwhile was defending his record of supporting Hamilton county school issues, which he noted, included over 300 million dollars of capital investments for schools..
“Me and my fellow commissioners, when we had discretionary funds, invested most of their discretionary funds in education. And I resent the fact that any board member disrespect this commission or any member of it.”
The school board on Thursday will begin revising its requests in the 443-million dollar budget for next year.
In Chattanooga, Ashley Henderson News 12 Now.