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



Elizabeth Baker Has Been Fighting For Us

My fellow Republicans of District 2, I have good news for you. We have a citizen who has been working for us at local and state levels to protect our county assets (fighting the Gardenhire bill), to ensure our children have opportunities of public education  (fighting for the rights of the students on Waldens Ridge to not be excluded from their county school in Signal Mountain ... (click for more)

Fortunate To Have Greg Martin

The residences of the third district in Hamilton are fortunate to have had Greg Martin as our county commissioner since 2016.  Greg Martin served District 3 as the representative on the Hamilton County School Board from March of 2012 to November of 2016. Greg and his family have attended the schools in third district of Hamilton County and Martin’s wife, Sheila, is a teacher ... (click for more)

Person Killed, 2 Injured In Accident On Suck Creek Road Saturday Morning

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office deputies and traffic investigators were on the scene of an accident that occurred at approximately  8:45 a.m.  near the 2100 block of Suck Creek Road. The accident involved two vehicles, a van and a car. Reports at this time are only preliminary, but two people sustained injuries and were transported by HCEMS to a local hospital. ... (click for more)

A Jury For 2nd Time Convicts Randall Reed Of Murdering 70-Year-Old Woman In 2011

A jury for the second time has convicted Randall Reed of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of 70-year-old Jane Stokes in East Ridge. The verdict was returned in the courtroom of Judge Tom Greenholtz’s on Friday. The earlier verdict had been thrown out by an appeals court. Reed testified in his own behalf. The victim was murdered in her home during a robbery in 2011. ... (click for more)

Mongar Succeeds Massey As Lady Owls Softball Coach

In an absolute twist of fate, Kerilyn Mongar has taken over the Ooltewah High School girls’ softball program following the resignation of Jon Massey shortly after the 2018 state tournament. Massey has since been named boys’ baseball coach at Silverdale Baptist Academy and Mongar, who coached at East Ridge for three years, now has the task of continuing the Lady Owls’ highly ... (click for more)

UTC Wrestling Coach Heath Eslinger Resigns

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Mark Wharton announced the resignation of wrestling head coach Heath Eslinger today.  Eslinger, who spent nine seasons as head coach of his alma mater, informed Wharton of his decision this morning.  "It was always my hope that Heath Eslinger spend the rest of his career leading our wrestling ... (click for more)