CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Even though the 2020 budget was passed weeks ago, Hamilton County Commissioners are still arguing over funding for the schools.
Last Thursday, Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson announced that he was using his $15,000 dollar bonus, which was included in his contract, as incentive to turn the school system around, to fund a scholarship in honor of his late mother, LaBrenda Johnson.
Hamilton County Commissioner David Sharpe, was so impressed with Dr. Johnson’s generous scholarship announcement, that he decided to follow his lead.
He said that since the commission had declined to vote for the budget that included pay raises for teachers, he didn’t feel comfortable keeping the 2.5% raise that the commission gets this year.
“I would like to forego my two and a half percent pay raise and contribute that, uh, to that scholarship fund for Dr. Johnson,” said Dist. 6 Commissioner David Sharpe.
But Commissioner Tim Boyd had a different point to make on the district’s recent scores of all 5’s in the composite student growth scores.
“I thank them for proving to the community that this commission and the taxpayers of Hamilton County adequately fund the Department of Ed. for results that we should expect. And I hope this, these results are not one time, but a trend in continuing improvement over the years,” said Tim Boyd, of District 8.
Commissioner Warren Mackey asked to be recognized to rebut Commissioner Boyd.
“You’re talking about a group of people – these teachers, who have worked hard, and they’ve risen to the challenge and it seems to be said that, because they were able to do it, it proves they don’t need any more money and I TOTALLY disagree with that,” said Commissioner Mackey, District 4 Commissioner.
County Mayor Jim Coppinger tried to get the commission to just move forward from the disagreements over the latest school budget battle.
“Nobody was more competitive about the tax increase than me. It’s OVER. You know, it’s over, and you shake hands and you say what can we do going forward, you know we can’t look back,” said Mayor Coppinger.