Pay attention to attack on Tennessee public education by legislature

Published 8:39 am Monday, March 11, 2019

To the Editor:
While it’s still a little early to know exactly the final content of the 81 bills that I have been tracking, it is evident that the Carter County Commission go on record supporting the $40 million proposed by Gov. Lee to be used to employ school resource officers (SROs). Carter County as of last year spent $702,000 for SRO coverage in 15 schools.
The bill as currently written would allow school systems that already fund SROs to apply for grants for other security projects such as single entry points to the school building through detectors (usually metal).
The $702,000 figure was provided by the Carter County Sheriff’s Department at a recent Carter County Commission meeting. I don’t know where the number included the Little Milligan School SRO, since that was the only county school where an SRO was not assigned for an extended period of time.
I believe the state should provide the total SRO expense leaving the present expenditure to be spent for salary increases for all school personnel. We have three school buildings plus the modular classrooms that need to be phased out.
I also believe due to the travel time from Little Milligan to Hampton that this school should be kept open, since the school is the heart and soul of that community.
One last comment: The proposed moving of $30 million from public education to Educational Savings Accounts is a thinly disguised extension of the voucher system on steroids. The system is also pushed by the federal government (Betsy DeVos) according to recent newspaper articles plus my reading material from the NEA and TEA.
I realize that the loss of revenue due to declining enrollment presents real problems for the Carter County School Board, however, the sooner we address reality the better. We must quit kicking the car down the road!!

Charles D. Von Cannon
Third District Commissioner

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