Middle School Idea Unpopular In Auburntown
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School Board member Chris Blackburn speaks during the Middle School Forum in Auburntown Tuesday.
The committee to study the feasibility for a county Middle School met with parents and educators of the Auburntown Elementary School in the school’s gym Tuesday night. The left side of the gym was standing room only. Many of the visitors got chairs and put them in the corner of the gym floor to listen the comments from the audience and the committee.

The committee was appointed by the School Board to address the impact on the local school community, and their feelings about the county wanting or needing a middle school.

Those on the committee are: Chris Blackburn, second district school board member; Marcia Melton, Supervisor of Instruction; Lisa Black, Transportation Coordinator; Kim Parsley, Woodland Principal; Shannon H.  Davenport, school board member; Karen King, Principal of Eastside Elementary and Robert Sain, Westside Principal.

Director of Schools Barbara Parker welcomed the people and thanked them for coming. She told those assembled that there wasn’t any set plans to build a middle school and that they had not even considered it until an article came out in the Cannon Courier. And because of the nature of rumor mills in the county and the impact that the article had on the parents of the different local community schools, the board named a committee to search the pros and cons of a middle school. Being educators as they are they have researched the subject extensively.

The schools office had prepared a PowerPoint presentation on the Ideal Middle School. There was the age balance that they could control in a middle school where all the grades could be separate from each other. They could incorporate elements from both the elementary school and the middle school. They believe it would help in the transition to High School. They feel that an ideal school would make the students feel more comfortable. Furthermore it would not be a watered down version of high school, it would be a school with an environment of its own. It would be broken down into smaller clusters geared to the needs of the students.

The educators believe the middle school would create more socially accepted behavior, and give the students more of a feeling of independence, there could be specialized classes in this environment. They also feel like there would be more curriculum activities available to them and would promote enrichments opportunities. One important thing to look at would be the possibility of being able to intervene earlier with behavior problems; by being able to identify them earlier.

The committee also went on to show what they thought the downfall of having a middle school verses having the small community K through 8 schools. These were, that there would be a larger pupil student ratio; some students they say would not be mature enough for a larger environment at their particular age. With a large school environment there could be attendance issues, and there would be less students participating in organized sports. Athletes would have to travel farther to be able to compete in the age/grade level. The school would most likely be less personable to each student. They also feel that the transportation cost could be overwhelming, and maybe even some local schools would have to be closed. One thing that was also s concern was they felt with a school such as this concept would bring less parent participation.

The people assembled were ready to voice their opinions about the matter. It can be safely said that Auburntown Community appears to be 100% against the idea of creating such a situation. Many people in the audience spoke their thoughts about breaking up a community school such as theirs. Some people went through the middle school/junior high systems and except for two members of the committee they had nothing good to say about them, and their feelings and experiences with middle schools were less than enjoyable. Most of their comments were in the area of  studenst “ losing” themselves in the system of a large school when they are at the very critical age of self awareness and in need of self esteem; one thing very important to a maturing adolescent.

An educator from DeKalb School system Brad Leach, who is an Auburntown native, addressed the committee. He spoke firsthand on the pitfalls of creating a middle school. One reason was the influence of older students on the younger ones and the bad influences that come about from older children.

“We compare your test scores to ours,” he said, and that “you are to be congratulated.”

Leach has been an educator for 16 years and told the committee and audience that “if you like your test scores you should leave your system alone.” Leach also addressed the discipline problems a middle school brings. He said 90% of the problems came from freshman students. And he indicated that those kinds of problems were not seen in a system where the kids stayed in the K through 8 schools.

Stan Garrison came from the Nashville school system and said that learning disabilities were identified earlier in a school such as Auburntown.

Bill Melton spoke and told of his grandchildren who are in the county school system and stated that “a middle school is like a private school, you separate the students from the real world.”

Laurie Reed, a mother of two says that Auburntown has the best school in the county. One woman joined the Auburntown community a year ago and said that her children were “not just numbers to the teachers.”

An Ohio parent who had moved into the community said that she was a special education teacher and she spent all of her time on addressing behavioral problems in Ohio’s middle school system.

One parent addressed the committee and before she spoke she asked  the Director of Schools if she was allowed to use the word Christian, which of course she was. She said that her children’s teachers were helping her raise her children up as Christians by their daily examples in front of the students. “I am successful as a stay at home mom because if these teachers.” She too was afraid to lose what the Auburntown School offers them.

Donald Fann is an Auburntown native; he is the director of our award-winning Arts Center in Woodbury. He told the committee that he had lived in Rutherford County for the last 12 years and had put his children in their school system. He stated that he had 3 school age children and that 2 of his children had fallen through the cracks of the Rutherford School system.

Fann and his wife came back to Cannon for the small community school and told everyone that by being in the Auburntown School that his situation with his kids had reversed itself and now the children were all prospering.

The general consensus of those attending and speaking was that building a middle school was not an answer to any problem that the school system had.  “People are moving towards Cannon County because of our schools” said one speaker.

Committee members were given a chance to speak before the meeting ended. Marcia Melton stated that “we are all passionate when it comes to our children.” Mrs. Melton said that she is persuaded by research and said that the committee has not decided either way.

It was pointed out by the crowd and by the committee that Robert Sain, Shannon Davenport and Chris Blackburn favored a middle school. But Blackburn took offence when Ricky Scott from the audience told the committee that most people in Auburn thought that the committee’s meetings “were just a formality and that it was already a done deal.”

Blackburn explained that he could truthfully say that he was still undecided but, that he was committed to doing what he thought was best for the county. He had already been told from the audience that being the school board member from Auburntown that his vote “is already no” meaning that Blackburn is supposed to vote the wishes of the majority, and it was clear to see that the majority of the community was against the middle school concept.

The meeting lasted almost three hours and was deemed to be successful to the committee because of the community’s participation. Three county commissioners were on hand for the meeting, the two second district commissioners Jimmy Mingle and Todd Hollandsworth and fifth district commissioner Bob Stoetzel.

There was one meeting left for the committee to hold and that will be tonight at Short Mountain School.

Members Opinions:
February 24, 2011 at 5:45am
If the committee is supposed to be neutral and not have their mind made up, then why did 2 members of the committee already come out and speak in favor of a middle school. This is 2 biased opinions trying to sway the rest of the committee. If you have a jury deciding the fate of individuals, a biased member is not allowed to sit on that jury. Why are these 2 members allowed on this committee?
February 24, 2011 at 7:05am
One opinion I feel that might have have some merit was the Dekalb Co. gentleman,given the option I would have to follow his lead and go Auburntown over Dekalb!!It appears that the Auburntown community has rallied its support against the middle school issue , but as with the majority that are anti middle school its for IMO not about the kids but the fear of losing Auburn school as they know it and the remnants of the fading community!
February 24, 2011 at 7:24am
I believe School Board Members are voted into office because citizens in those districts entrust these men/women to vote and represent what is best for the needs of education for children in the Cannon County School System, not to represent what the community as a whole deems necessary based on overwhelming emotion. I would say the Study Group and Board is more qualified to make an informed decision based on all of the information and not simply represent the demands of individuals who threaten votes. Yes, Mr. Blackburn, Auburn Community has spoken, but if your mind, NOT HEART, tells you a middle school system is best for Cannon County then I admire you for doing the right thing, even if it is not the popular thing.
February 24, 2011 at 8:46am
I think we voted him in to let him voice our opinion for us. I also think everyone knows how we feel at auburn. I guess we will see what happens.
February 24, 2011 at 9:10am
How can we afford this new school if its voted in? The economy is really bad and is getting worse by the minute. I'm not saying its not needed. I just don't see how it can be done right now. I still firmly believe that alot of the problems begin at the high school. So much needs to be done there. I think its sad that my kids went four years there and we were down there every year trying to get grades straightened out. We are always told its the computer system? It took two years to get one of my childs grades right! I guess they thought this Mom would just forget about it. No way! Also its pretty sad that we cant even see our childs grade point average on their report card in high school. Again its a computer problem? This computer problem has been going on for about 7 years! This is just a few problems there. There are many, many more!
February 24, 2011 at 9:25am
One way to afford a middle school, if one needs to be built, would be to consolidate Auburn, Short Mountain and East Side into one school. Doing that would also help address the existing inequities between those schools and Woodland, West Side and Woodbury Grammar.
February 24, 2011 at 10:19am
It was stated we dipped into the reserves $750,000 last year. A new school could cost anywhere from 10 million to who knows? An increase in the sales tax would stand a better chance of covering $750,000 over 10 million any way you look at it. Also one particular committee member who is in favor of a middle school lives in Rutherford County. So guess what? An increase in property tax, sales tax or wheel tax will not even affect that committee member. Why is our director of schools allowing someone who doesn't even live in our county to serve on this committee and voice their opinion supporting the middle school.
February 24, 2011 at 10:48am
>>They also feel that the transportation cost could be overwhelming.

It isn't just the transportation cost. Think about the amount of time it would take to transport students from all over the county. I went to Woodbury Grammar and lived two miles from school, but the afternoon bus route took me up Doolittle, around the Ridge and down Rush creek. It took over an hour to get home. Even with the unlimited amount of energy that kids have I was shot after a day of school and this long ride. ALL THE TIME I SPENT ON THE BUS WAS WASTED TIME. Is it wise to build this much inefficiency into each kids day? Not to mention two school bus crashes (one bus ran straight into the Doolittle bridge and another bus flipped on it's side a little further up Doolittle). It also brings in the question about supervision on the busses. I don't know how it is now, but I seem to remember more fights on the bus than I do in the schoolyard.
February 24, 2011 at 11:53am
Kevin, Wouldn't logistics alone preclude the closing of either Auburn or Woodland.
February 24, 2011 at 11:55am
Transportation cost br549123 , the current bus routes transport students "all over the county" NOW and last time I noticed the buses returning back to CCHS from the outlying schools were for the most part empty (most high school students don't ride a bus)so transportation cost is a non issue , except for the use of other county vehicles and personal vehicles that the county reimburse mileage for commuting to outlying schools(maintenance,support staff,nurse,special ed. etc...)and by the way you never thought about maybe walking that two miles home?
February 24, 2011 at 12:30pm
"Kevin, Wouldn't logistics alone preclude the closing of either Auburn or Woodland."

How so, goober?
February 24, 2011 at 12:34pm
By all means, let's continue to sink millions of dollars each year into a system that will drain the county monetarily, force a tax increase to pay for maintenance costs and budget shortfalls on schools that were built in the 1950's while having three schools with a combined enrollment of 400 plus students K-8.

All the while our children attend schools converted from burning coal to gas to heat them, lose the ability to learn how to socialize earlier and leave kids with special needs without modern facilities all because of our own personal feelings and inability to change.

Oh but I forgot, we still get to have inter-rival basketball games and watch our children shoot a 3 point shot while one foot is on the court and the other is in the bleachers because the gym is so small. At least there is that because we all know how important the county wide basketball trophy is each year.

As an added bonus we can just pass the problems along to those same children to deal with in a few years while we sit in our rockers on our butt like we are doing today.

Let's not get out of our comfort zone in any way and plan for the future. That would make too much sense and require effort.
February 24, 2011 at 12:57pm
the freshmen and most sophmores cant drive. Do we just forget them? Do you suppose parents could just quit their jobs, take their kids to school and then pay those higher taxes they are wanting us to pay that will pay for the new Middle School. Are all the schools already payed for? I dont think so......very smart
February 24, 2011 at 1:10pm
I knew Corey would come in there sometime when he didn't read what he wanted to hear!
By the way redneckgurly you are right the others are not paid for. It was quoted at the Westside meeting that 9.8 million is still owed on the grammar school and the additions on other schools are not paid for either.
February 24, 2011 at 1:37pm
Red neck too bad you and br549123 did not share the same bus route or maybe you did and you just missed the bus!
February 24, 2011 at 1:54pm
By the way Corey, special needs children are sent to Woodbury Grammar where everything is relatively new. And I am sure Auburntown does not appreciate your slur about the county wide basketball trophy. Those children worked very hard for those trophies this year.
February 24, 2011 at 2:34pm
I had no doubt teacher that you would show up as well and put your two cents in because I knew you couldn't remove your own personal feelings and actually focus on the good of the whole and actually remain objective. I certainly hope that is not the way you teach the kids you come in contact with.

And I wasn't slurring anyone about any trophy so quit trying to imply things that are not true. The comment about basketball was intended for all of the people obsessed with sports vs. education. I have a son who coached WGS last year, a son playing for the Lions this year and a daughter soon to be playing for WGS. Basketball is a very big part of my life, but not one that I am so blinded by that I can't see is not the most important thing in the grand scheme of my children's lives.

I pity people like you who can not look toward what is inevitable. I also pity people like yourself whose first instinct is to say no.

You are focusing on the negative aspect of planning, building, consolidating, etc. and you are putting no faith in the very system you are trying to keep rooted in 1950.

How sad all you see is failure for our children if we change what we currently have. How sad it is that you have no faith in our teachers or parents if we go outside of what you are used to.

My instinct is that not only would we survive if we changed our current course; it is also that we would flourish. I don't care what goes on in DeKalb County or Rutherford County, but I do care about what happens to my children in this county. I believe in the ability of our community to make things work.

I am so sad that you are determined to pass on a growing problem to my children and the others of our county because of your own personal feelings.

I find that very shameful on your part. Stop being selfish and look toward the betterment of all instead of just what is better for you.
February 24, 2011 at 2:41pm
Why do we tolerate idiots that are "persuaded by research" but ignore 100% of community opinion? How arrogant can you get?
February 24, 2011 at 2:56pm
Kevin what I was trying to say is because of the geographic shape of our county don't we need a grammar school to the north and one to the south?
February 24, 2011 at 3:01pm
Corey, How sad that you can not see the positive things that are going on in our schools NOW because you are blinded by your own selfish opinion that a middle school is the answer to everything. I pity you as well.
February 24, 2011 at 3:07pm
goober, I have yet to get to the logistics matter. Perhaps I have been distracted too much by talk of a middle school when I think the first priority should be studying if and why we have the number of K-8 schools we have. If we have three K-8's now with enrollments of 400-plus, clearly the three K-8's that have enrollments of around 100 can be consolidated into one.
February 24, 2011 at 3:50pm
teacher I do see the positives in our school system now. The difference between us is unlike you my opinion is not selfishly devoted to the idea that we can't change and make it better.

I think we have some great teachers in our schools right now. I hope you are one of them despite your obvious inability to fluctuate or deviate from change.

I think we have some great schools in our county. I think we have some wonderful students in our county. And I am also very proud of all of our sports programs that our children play in.

This isn't about me and this isn't about you. This is about what is best for the children of our community as a whole and where we will be financially and educationally if we don't change a system dedicated to schools that were built in the 1950's.

For a teacher, you are not someone who seems to follow logic very well. I have said it all along that I personally benefit more by following your idea of doing nothing. However, I am not content to pass on a known problem to my children despite the naysayers and doom and gloom people like you.

Doing nothing is not an option. Planning for the future in whatever capacity that may be is not only prudent and wise, it is also a necessity and one I can't understand for the life of me why you or anyone else are so dead set against.

The questions should never be about how good our schools are now, it should be about how good our schools can become.

Would you teach a child any different? Would you say to a child, "Well Johnny you are as good as you will ever be, don't worry about trying to get any better?"

Why do you accept the idea that our schools and the way they are now is as good as it needs to be or ever will be?
I don't apologize to anyone for believing that we can't always improve. And if that makes me selfish, then so be it.

At least I am not doing it because I am more worried about my own selfish needs like you are.
February 24, 2011 at 3:54pm
Discipline should begin at HOME....NOT IN THE SCHOOLS!

But.....where do we get the money for a middle school. We are already taxed to death.....pretty soon the ones paying the taxes will be broke and then what is going to happen? Just hold off...this is NOT the time to increase the burdens on the citizens of Cannon County. Take a look at the poll the CC had out recently on how people felt about their finances. Think it was over 80% that thought it was getting worse....that should tell you something too. Just be patient.....it is probably inevitable but now is not the time.
February 24, 2011 at 4:04pm
I agree auburnknight! It seems some of our community is blind when it comes to all the problems at the high school. Its no wonder so many in high school are quitting or driving to other counties to attend school. The fighting and violence is really out of hand at the school. Also the drugs. What good is a middle school going to do if all these kids eventually have to attend the high school in the shape it is in? I think we need to clean up what we have before building new schools. It would be great if our director of schools would address some of these problems at the high school.
February 24, 2011 at 4:27pm
Teacher I am curious on where you received your education and what other school systems have you spent any considerable amount of time with?
February 24, 2011 at 4:39pm
Cost is a key part of the middle school discussion. One aspect of the discussion should not be whether we maintain the current grade structure, or change. It is known that if nothing is done, nothing will change. Well, that's not entirely accurate, because there will always be change. What is best for students in grades 6 through 8, or maybe 7-9? That's the real discussion and decision. That's the great debate. The smaller ones are can we afford to maintain the current structure and if we can't, what do we do?
February 24, 2011 at 4:52pm
Gypsy take a poll ten years ago or ten years from now you will NEVER have positive results from the majority about personal finances! Taxes , take a look at you tax rates of neigboring counties,you are getting a bargain , but then again you get what you pay for, and who is getting short changed, sadly the kids are. Being patient that is why we are in the shape we are now , lets wait a few more years and probably need to build two new buildings!
February 24, 2011 at 5:37pm
To tngram: I’m so glad you posted about your problems with the high school and the report cards. My child is a sophomore and we have never gotten a correct report the first time either. I currently have three copies of the last report card, all of which are incorrect. Everyone I know also gets incorrect report cards. I have also been given the same old answer; it’s a computer problem. Well, I called the State of TN Dept of Education and found out that it is in fact NOT a computer problem. The state assured me that it was all operator error on our school officials. According to the state, the surrounding counties, such as Rutherford, all use the same system and no other school is having problems getting the report cards right. This apparently has been going on for around 7 years per your posting. How in the world is or could the top ten of a class be figured when we cannot even get a correct report card or one corrected? How could anyone trust the integrity of the grades? I wonder if this problem has cost any kids scholarships or if it will? I also know of three children that have a permanent incorrect grade in their English for their freshman year. I work with several friends that have children attending Oakland, Riverdale, and Blackmon in Rutherford County and they tell me that they have yet to get an incorrect report card. Like you said this is only one of the many problems at the high school. If we have such incompetence running our high school why would we ever even consider a middle school….. oh, and by the way the State said they'd contact our school system and see if they needed additional training on how to imput the grades.
February 24, 2011 at 5:47pm
It is everybody's business tayloreric, because it effects everybody. If the three smaller schools are superior, that means the rest of the county is paying to maintain an educational opportunity which is superior to the one they themselves enjoy. We should have equal opportunity for all.
February 24, 2011 at 5:50pm
We need to save money right? Well lets start at the top and clean house from there. Yes, I mean the central office. Are all of those posistions absolutely necessary? Can we cut any positions there? And how about this?, Woodland has 2 classes for each grade, how about re-zoning some kids to Short Mt from Eastside and alot of kids from Woodland to Eastside, fill up those class rooms and get rid of a whole set of k-8 teachers at Woodland and save those salaries.
February 24, 2011 at 6:30pm
Thank you for posting thomascat! So glad to hear from more parents. I also have talked to many parents and we all have got the "computer problem" excuse. I also wondered why surrounding counties didn't have the same problem when the same system is used. I really hope they get someone in there to teach them how to use the system. Our kids deserve better and I'm sure some kids have missed out on scholarships due to wrong grades on their transcripts. Its truly sad that we are not seeing a forum set up to discuss all the problems at the high school. So tired of excuses and being ignored.
February 24, 2011 at 7:20pm
I've been exposed to computers almost my entire life. My dad worked with them and once I graduated college I worked with them and computer-controlled equipment for over thirty years. The only computer errors are data input errors performed by humans. Computers do what they are told with the information they are given. Every. Single. Time. The problem exists between the chair and the keyboard.
February 24, 2011 at 7:59pm
to wichitatwister; thanks for your post also. That's what the State Dept of Education told me. They said all the surrounding high schools were using the very same system and that if our report cards are wrong (and I promise you I have never gotten a correct one in a year and a half) that it is not the computer system, it is operator error in entering the grades. To my amazement we actually employee a computer tech in the central office. I also just attended a Middle School Forum and the first 15 min or so Ms. Parker discussed all of our great technology. REALLY, REALLY, And I can't even get a correct report card. What a joke!
February 24, 2011 at 8:57pm
KevinHalpern you do have equal opportunity because you can send your child to any school in the county. Just so you know, Short Mountain and East Side do have openings in there schools for your child.
February 25, 2011 at 12:15am
I could not attend the Short Mtn. meeting tonight. I do not support the building of a middle school. I attended a middle school in Sumner County and you are just a number. They were the most difficult years I had in school. I was the in the first class from going to a K-8 to the new middle school.

I do feel that the school system needs to have each of the 8th grade teachers to get together to make sure they are teaching the same info, so our children are all on the same page when entering high school.
The lower student to teacher ratio made a big difference in my sons grades(18 point increase in overall grades) when he transfered to Short Mtn. from a neighboring county middle school. That is my 2 cents.
February 25, 2011 at 3:43am
tayloreric, all K-8 schools that our local government maintains should offer an equal learning environment and opportunity.
February 25, 2011 at 5:32am
Kevin, if that's really true then all if our schools should have new facilities, gym, etc. like Woodbury grammar, right? Equal environment. That's clearly not possible. Are you wanting the smaller schools to be "equal" in respects of class size? That's simply punishing the small schools. Do you realize that many of the top 20 students at CCHS are a product of a small school? Your reasoning suggests that when something is too good or "unequal," at one of our schools, we should take something away from a school that just has it too good. That's why the forums at the small schools have been so emotional. We know we have a good thing going, we see problems in other schools where the kids often suffer, and we know we're on the chopping block.

Corey, is there someone in your family that would benefit from a middle school? How would you feel if you had a child to be bussed out daily to Short Mtn. or Auburn? Be honest. It's so easy for those who wouldn't really lose anything to be all for an idea that would cause others to lose something that is working. Also, would you be in favor of converting Woodbury Grammar into a middle school? Just wondering? Please don't slam my questions/comments because they're not the same as yours. I totally understand how old the buildings are etc. :)
February 25, 2011 at 6:02am
"Are you wanting the smaller schools to be "equal" in respects of class size? That's simply punishing the small schools."

scrabble, if there is not equality in that area, doesn't that mean the large schools are being punished?
February 25, 2011 at 6:12am
That's why we'd like to see rezoning before you close down schools that are effective. Our goal should be to make all our schools as effective as possible.
February 25, 2011 at 6:26am
Why rezone when the same objective can be accomplished by consolidation, at less cost?
February 25, 2011 at 6:47am
Cannon County officials need to concentrate on getting this county out of debt.Let's pay for what we have already built.
February 25, 2011 at 7:03am
Scrabble: are you under the impression that ANY school in Cannon is EFFECTIVE, maybe by your standards or the "if it ain't broke"crowd ,contrary to popular belief being at or even above average in the TN.TCAP scores is nothing to brag about,I have said this before you want to compare your school system look at ACT scores Tn. public schools 4th from the bottom nationwide
February 25, 2011 at 7:22am
Lucydog, yep, I KNOW my school is effective. It's just not because of TCAP scores.

Kevin, is cost the only issue here? You might want to consider other "costs": loss of community schools, bussing students a long distance when a good school is nearby, putting a large number of students together with a fewer number of teachers will likely increase behavior issues, etc. There are lots of costs to consider. Everyone seems to ignore the fact that our brightest students come out of the small schools. Whatever the smaller schools is doing works, so why are we considering making our schools more like the ones that don't work as well?
February 25, 2011 at 7:33am
scrabble, cost is an issue because it is part of the equation. We should be doing what works at every school. I don't think we are going to split Woodland, West Side and Woodbury Grammar into smaller schools (cost), so if the objective is to achieve equality, there is only one alternative.
February 25, 2011 at 8:22am
Are we only concerned about our "brightest students"? I believe the focus should be on ALL students. With that in mind, you look at data (that's not an idiotic thing to do). In my opinion, this major decision should not be left up to communities. It should be left up to the people who are educated and qualified to make these decisions.

The Director dropped the ball on this issue the last time, so she needs to make sure she gets this one right. With that being said I trust she will.

The board knows the financial issues too, and also knows the county commision will do nothing for them.

With those factors in mind, we still should first look at the kids.

Let's be honest here, do you want your third grade student exposed to things an 8th grade student is and does?

I believe this would help discipline issues on the High School level.
February 25, 2011 at 9:41am
Lets look at the logistical aspect another way (excluding Auburn because of the distance to the next county school)- What reasons are stopping us from combining Eastside and Short Mountain? If this was done how much money would be saved and what would be the affect to the students?

It really would be nice to have cost data on each school to consider this and many of the questions raised on this forum but if we have been informed correctly this information is not available.

Also if we are going to consider what we will need in the future, wouldn't it be a safe assumption to assume that the west side of our county will grow at a faster rate than the east, so Auburn and Westside Schools will grow at a faster rate than Woodland, Westside and Short Mountain?

I also believe, if many of the concerns listed above are true, it doesn't matter what we do with our youth if we don't offer an adequate high school.
February 25, 2011 at 11:11am
What is wrong with our county education system that rezoning cannot fix? Why is there a difference between busing kids one direction versus busing them another?
February 25, 2011 at 11:28am
Scrabble:I feel confident that all these Rhodes scholars that your "EFFECTIVE" school is churning out have to have remedials before they can get into a state university! LOL!!
February 25, 2011 at 11:57am
Scrabble to answer your question (as I already have to teacher in another article), if the good of the whole is to transport my daughter to another school because of consolidation then I will do it.

Unlike most people who are determined to do nothing, change nothing and prepare for nothing, I am willing to put forth effort and make the sacrifice to transport my daughter to another school if it is deemed that is the best solution. I will gladly do so without any complaints if that helps solve the problem of paying for three schools at a cost of $2.4 million dollars a year that enroll just over 400 students K-8!

Blue, rezoning will affect an extremely small amount of students. The overwhelming majority of the students in the county are already attending the school they are zoned for. It might (and I think might is a strong word) affect 75 kids total. Barbara Parker spoke of rezoning at the WGS meeting and stated that at this time it is not an issue because none of the schools are at total capacity and until they are, allowing a child to attend school out of their zone would not be an issue.

TCAP scores across the county don't carry enough weight or difference to justify keeping six schools open. The larger schools in many categories are better or show no difference in the scores. Anyone who thinks that the smaller schools are outperforming the larger schools is living in a dream world because the proof is there for anyone to see. Look for yourself and you determine if a one point difference in categories justifies keeping a school open with nine teachers and 116 students makes sense.

And again, I ask all of you who are against doing anything. Why do you insist on believing we will fail if we change what our current system is?

Is your faith so little in the students and the teachers that you cannot see we can survive and flourish if we do decide to change?

Why do you think it is so wrong to say we can't improve on our current system? Why is your first thought's automatically "it can't be done?"

I think if all of you put as much effort into trying to find a solution as you do in working against change we could figure this out a whole lot quicker.
February 25, 2011 at 12:42pm
Corey, this has nothing to do with faith, nor does it with providing a quality education as the case for creating a middle-school so far is more of economics than anything else. My first thoughts aren't that "it can't be done" but rather why should be done? Just what is it we are trying so hard to find a "solution" for? Is it merely economics? What specifically does the School Board say the problem is? Is it simply that we are in the hole $750,000 and we have to find a "solution" to this problem? Has anyone asked the school board why it is they are into their reserves by this amount? When the rest of the country is cutting back and conserving their reserves, have we in Cannon County been oblivious to the current state of the economy and spent our reserves as if there is no tomorrow? We're two years into this economic downturn now. What measures have been taken to conserve funds, protect taxpayer investments made to our current education system in the county? Is creating a middle-school the only solution to whatever the problems are with the School Board fund balance? There are far too many questions yet unanswered before the citizens of Cannon County will support the idea of building something new during a time of such economic turmoil.
February 25, 2011 at 1:16pm
Blue, the county has also raided its reserves the past two years to help fund the budget. The amount was around $450,000 two years ago and $350,000 this fiscal year. They will also likely have to do so next (fiscal) year. It's either that or raise taxes.
February 25, 2011 at 2:37pm
Did someone say close Woodland or Auburn? Can we say CRAZY!!! These are the two best schools in the county. Why can't you people see that. These kids are the most well behaved, and the teachers are awsome! A middle school may be a good idea, but by NO means is it the answer. We have great test scores and teachers COUNTY WIDE - you all need to say thank you to them. In other words leave it be! Stop running our good teachers off!
February 25, 2011 at 2:40pm
Sounds like decisions we are all having to face although we as individuals aren't able to raise our taxes. Instead we have to make cut-backs to get by.
February 25, 2011 at 3:27pm
To answer your question Blue, I think I can simply say NO! The county has done absolutely nothing to prepare for what we are currently facing. To my knowledge we have no contingency plan whatsoever! We are simply going to continue to dip into the reserves until we exhaust them and taxes will be raised to offset them.

Everyone who reads this can BANK on your taxes being raised! Write it down today because it is coming without a doubt! The State of Tennessee REQUIRES the school board to keep a certain percentage level of their total school budget in reserves. We are already $759,000 into that reserve. That money must come from somewhere. Any guesses where?

And to answer your other question of "why it should be done" is even simpler. To not do anything will ensure we go further in debt than we already are. We can continue to pay for six schools to accomplish the same thing three will do and pay higher taxes or consolidate and hopefully not have as big of an increase in taxes and hopefully build something in the future.

Although building is the best option in my opinion, as I have said before it is one that can not be accomplished right now. But, to not plan for it and not prepare for it would be as dumb as ignoring it!

For me personally, it is more of an economic responsibility vs. an educational one. Simply based on the fact that TCAP scores prove that the larger schools are just as equal or in some cases better than the smaller schools. The evidence does not agree with those who say smaller classes make smarter students. Those figures are very readily available and contrary to what they would have you believe.

So if that is the case, then why would we want to continue to sink MILLIONS of dollars into six schools when there is no tangible benefit from it other than to satisfy the doom and gloomers who simply want to hang on to tradition?

What is the most shameful in my opinion is the elected officials such as the County Commissioners and the School Board have not been focusing on this problem before now. I asked Barbara if there was a joint committee between the two and the answer was NO. Shouldn’t we all be asking “Why Not?”

Of course, our County Commissioners only meet four times a year, so I guess there isn’t much urgency because we’ve been told they can call a “special meeting” anytime one is needed.
February 25, 2011 at 4:45pm
There has been a lot of complaints, but no suggestions on what to do. I wonder just as much as everyone else on where is the money going to come from? Do we really need a Middle School? Do we need to consolidate our schools?

This is a win - lose situation. There are arguments for and arguments against. Both sides bring valid points to the table. The big issue in all of this is how is it going to be paid for?

When the commission can answer that question honestly then maybe and only maybe can the debate move further.

When I put my personal feelings into the arena I say "NO". I feel that the money to be spent on a middle school can be put to use in other areas of our kids education. When you look at our schools own report card I think education is more important. We need to pay for the additions that have already been made and find ways to improve our kids education. Once, all this has been accomplished then we can talk about a Middle School again.
February 25, 2011 at 5:44pm
Corey, Kevin, and others...thank you for carrying this discussion forward with civility, coherency, and dignity. I respect that very much. We do have considerable problems facing us in Cannon County and ones that all of us must work together to resolve. Meeting in the middle, sharing ideas and data, and working for the good of all involved will take us much further than squaring off and battling one another. Someone earlier mentioned that the subject of children garners much emotion. Indeed it does and this has always been a factor when it comes to the schools. They are inseparable for many people in the county and especially for those who have children currently in the school system. I believe, like most, that education must remain a priority for our children and this is best attained by the least disruption possible to their daily lives. Wherever we go from here, we should keep this in mind. Thanks again for such good discussion.
February 25, 2011 at 6:15pm
It was brought up in our meeting that some schools are larger but the student teacher radio is basically the same in all K-8 schools.

If closing a school is considered, I suggest you start with closing the K-8 school with the lowest scores per the Tennessee Department of Education Report Card. It doesn’t make sense to close a school that is performing better and keep a school open that isn’t.

If geographically it isn’t possible, take the principal and staff from higher ranking school. Keep our better performing teachers on staff in Cannon County.
February 25, 2011 at 6:38pm
Blue, I enjoy the civility much better myself as well. I have tried diligently to lay aside my own beliefs and what I would personally like to do and focus more on what is good for the whole.

Consolidating schools causes me more problems than anything personally because my daughter could potentially lose her school and I would be forced to transport her to another. But, that is something I am willing to do if it is what is determined to be the best idea to help the majority.

Building a school would raise mine and everyone else's taxes despite my belief this is the one true best option. Not only from a financial standpoint, but also from an educational standpoint. But, it is improbable at this time.

I have not focused on the idea of annexing onto WGS as has been suggested, but this could wind up being the option we have to choose.

In my opinion and if we had enough money, I think building a new High School, turning the old High School into a Middle School for 6th, 7th and 8th grades and keeping two of our existing grammar schools open would accomplish the most with what we have got.

tracypatt you are correct in your statement that the student per teach ratio is basically the same. The same can also be said for the TCAP scores across the county with WGS the worst, but also with the biggest enrollment and the most socioeconomically challenged children.

Having said that, I will end by saying: Why, if everything is equal educationally, are we continuing to spend millions of dollars each year on six schools when we could do the same right now without building and keep three?
The answer is because of tradition, sentiment and personal feelings. Not because of logic!
February 25, 2011 at 11:27pm
Corey I wasn't born or raised in Cannon Co. I moved here for the basic things you apparently take for granted. Tradition not an issue here..pick on someone else about that one.. I certainly hope personal feelings do come into play. For my children and yours. I have too many questions to list. I have one for you. If a middle school is created. Unless several bus drivers are hired middle school and high school would have to ride together for the families farthest from Woodbury.

Would you want your 12 year old daughter on the bus for up to 3 hours a day with 17 year old high school boys?
February 26, 2011 at 6:51am
Well, to start with tracy I wasn't picking on you or anyone else. I actually said you were correct in what you said previously.

And secondly, I take nothing for granted at all when it concerns Cannon County. I love the county, the community, the people and the area more than anyone I know. I defend it vigorously against people who do nothing but try and tear it and the people down. I have more pride about being from Woodbury in my pinkie finger than most people do in their entire body. That is something I am quite proud of!

Welcome to our slice of heaven is what I can say to you personally. I don't care if you were born here or raised here. None of that matters to me as long as you are working toward making it a better place to live, which is what I believe we should all do.

As far as busing goes, what you are describing is currently going on today. How do you think the kids who attend High School who live in Auburntown get to school if their parents don't bring them? They ride the bus. The same applies to Woodland, Eastside, Short Mountain, etc. This means you currently have 12 year olds riding the bus with 17 year olds every day now. So again, it is not this massive change or difference if we decide to change our current system.

Also, state law only allows students to be on the bus a certain length of time each day. So, your 3 hours a day is a stretch.

Hoping that personal feelings come into play is your belief. It is not one that I share completely in that it dictates all of our decisions. Logic has to come into play more often in the decisions we make for our community because that in the end will be what is best for the whole and not the few.

Tradition, sentiment and personal feelings are not going to pay the bills at the end of the day. The idea of "keeping things the way they have always been" is a personal feeling. That will eventually bankrupt us if we continue to govern ourselves using that theory. That is fact and indisputable and one I am not willing to pass along to my children. Are you?
February 26, 2011 at 7:02am
Cannon Co should have a middle school and leave aburntown to itself
February 26, 2011 at 8:50am
Couldn't take anymore of this, so had to post my thoughts ....
IMO first to:
Precha (posted on 2/25) it's great you choose to be a victim of the middle school system, I hope you have overcome the setback you had as a middle school student and went on to be successful in your endeavors....or have you drowned in the sorrows of not having the fortitude to overcome the "SYSTEM"

As for the comments on the fighting in the high school...your current K-8 elementary system helps to create this situation (i said helps)....You send your children to seperate schools for 9 years and then throw them into a high school and expect no aimosity between Auburntown and Westside or East Side against Short Mtn...
You create this division every year with the almighty basketball league for the elementary schools. game after game held in small and dangerous gyms, you create division of the children in the county. they end up in high school having disliked for each other for years verses taking a dislike to other counties in there region or district. And you expect them to coinside in harmony the day they arrive at 1 lion Drive??????

I'm sure if you spoke (in a forum) to high school teachers they would tell you the majority of the students entering high school from the elementary systems struggle and take time away from diving into subjects and giving opportunities to learn more information and slows the system down.

So if I was an intelligent citizen of Cannon County (which i'm not, due to me posting on this blog)I would bet the school system already has a plan in place to reduce cost and stop taking funds out of it's reserves...closing one of the schools with the smallest enrollment (short mtn or east side) would save thousands of dollars and wouldn't cost that much in incremental bus expense, due to the close proximaty of the two schools. so ask your school board representative to show you a plan that would push the middle school out a few years and consoladate the current schools and save money.
Then request (in another forum) the county executives and board members to from a committee to develop a Middle school system for cannon county....

One last thought...why would short mountain school, who has no wireless internet service buy teachers I-Pads???? So there kids can play with them at home????? If i know the system (government) there had to be a grant of some kind that was about to run out so why not just buy I-PADs for teachers verse not spending the money!!!!!

Someone stop the insanity!!!!
February 26, 2011 at 12:37pm
How about this people carry their kids to school. This would reduce the amount of buses needed, and to the ones who say they cannot do this maybe we should quit living above our means. If people did this there would be no need for both parents to work. As for problems in schools remember the problems start at home. The problems just get more attention at school.
February 26, 2011 at 7:06pm
Victosdomino - Wow, just...wow! A little judgemental there, dude. And I guess you personally know the financial situation of every parent in the county?
As far as the building a middle school goes, far as I'm concerned, that boat sailed several years ago when "we" decided to add to all the 1950's schools. Had we built the middle school then, we wouldn't have needed the additions to the existing schools, and would not still owe millions on what has now been decided (by some) to be inadequate. A middle school was discussed at the time, but noooobody wanted to give up their basketball teams. So here we are, faced with either making do, or raising taxes.
February 27, 2011 at 9:10am
ibm89 you are absolutely, positively, 100% correct.

I screamed as loud then as I am now, but no one would listen and we didn't have websites to blog on like we do now. I think that is somewhat the reason I am so passionate about it now.

Basketball was the driving force behind not doing what we should have done prior to building WGS. We had to keep that inter-school rivalry and that trophy or bust!

Think about what we now have as a result. Six schools with millions of dollars spent on them for additions and upkeep all these years later and three that enroll less than 150 students K-8 each.

I am not saying a middle school is the best option at this time. It was then, but today in my opinion we will need to build a new High School instead (some day).

Unfortunately, because of poor planning then, we are in worse shape today than we were when we could have taken care of the issue.

I am being blasted by the "do nothing's" because of my belief we should plan for the future. Well, all I can say is if we had done it then we wouldn't be doing it now. And the longer they try to keep things “the way things have always been”, the worse it will become for my children and their children and so on and so on.

Also, even faced with "making do" our taxes will be raised to offset the budget shortfall unless we know of some other way to raise the money.
February 27, 2011 at 7:52pm
Just so a few of you know, if you walk in East Side or Short Mountain they are not larger enough to combine. When all the adding on was done years ago, I think they just got five class rooms and new bathrooms added to there 1950s buildings.They did not get a new school, or addions as larger as the school that was aready there. So if you think they could be combined, and it not cost anyting sorry to bust your bubble. The buldings are not large enough to combine two schools in one, so one would have to be added on to. Do I have fath in this school board? NO because my school board member lives at Woodland and has a child that attends Woodland (I live in the East Side and Short Mountain District). They need to work on the budget they have, fix it, then when they can make a middle school that can offer every child what they need, then come back with a PLAN showing what we could have. But in no way, will i support what they have said they could offer at these forums.
February 28, 2011 at 9:48am
I have a question. Why is it that we have 3 schools within just fifteen or twenty minutes of themselves? Short Mountain, East Side, and Woodland are all within just a few minutes of each other. Maybe splitting East Side into Short Mountain and Woodland would be something to think about. But the other issue becomes what do we do with an empty school building?
February 28, 2011 at 11:20am
Maybe the best line posted here.
>So if I was an intelligent citizen of Cannon County (which i'm not, due to me posting on this blog)

I know better, too, but here goes...

I can understand that we shouldn't be content doing the same old things and that consolidation will save tax dollars. I can understand many of the arguments for and against the middle school. I don't know what would be best, but I hope the best thing is done for the kids.

While thinking about this I am beginning to wonder if Cannon County hasn't outlived its purpose. Someone in this series of posts called Auburntown a receding community. I think Auburntown and Woodbury are both hit by the same thing. People go outside the county to shop at bigger stores with more selection and better prices. The merchants in Cannon County are squeezed and can't stay open. In the meantime, the adjoining counties are getting the benefit of the tax dollars we spend there, but those counties aren't responsible for any of our infrastructure. What a great windfall they have been enjoying for all these years. How much of their infrastructure have we built for them? I wonder how different the communities in Cannon County would be if they received the benefit from all the tax dollars that have flowed out of them for all these years.

If a middle school is the fix for all the problems, and the school at Auburntown was going to be closed, wouldn't it make more sense to create a middle school at Lascassas, which is currently a K-8 school, instead of sending those kids over the hill?

I started writing this as tongue in cheek, but as I think about it more and more I think it has some merit. I am not saying Cannon County is a bad place. I love it, but has a distinct disadvantage and I don’t know how else to fix it.
February 28, 2011 at 5:53pm
Thanks for pointing out that Lascassas is now a K-5 school. I did a google search and the first screen I got said it was k-8.

I do know that Lascassas is in Rutherford county. For the sake of conversation I am saying maybe Auburntown should be in Rutherford County, Short Mountain should be in DeKalb, Woodland in Coffee, etc... Sorry I didn't make my point any clearer.
February 28, 2011 at 7:54pm
redmolly I am glad you caught that or maybe we should just shut down all the schools and send them to other counties.
February 28, 2011 at 8:44pm
I don't think that a middle school is the answer.

Transportation would be a nightmare for any kid having to go from auburn, short mtn or woodland to woodbury.

an example of our great transportation...

We have a special needs child and my husband takes him to woodbury every day and picks him up in the evenings because we were told in order for a bus to pick him up it would be at....

6:05am and he would be dropped off at 7:30, and in the evening he would get on the bus at 2:30 and be dropped off at 4pm.....!

And we only live 7 miles from the school. It takes my husband less than 15mins to get there and back and that includes talking to his teacher and stopping at sonic for bfast.

I cannot even imagine how long kids would be on the bus if they live so far from school...

even if my kid was "typical" I would not want them to be on the bus for more than 45 minutes.

I agree that something needs to be done to our aging schools...and to the schools with just over 100 students.... it isn't right to have a 1st grade class with 8-10 students and another school with 2 or 3 classes of the same grade with 20-30 students each!

March 01, 2011 at 6:51am
I am still at a loss on how people say transportation would be a nightmare when you have the exact same thing happening today and has been happening for YEARS.

We have one High School.

Anyone from Auburntown, Short Mountain, Woodland, Eastside or Westside that attends that one High School and does not have a parent who takes to them to schools RIDES THE BUS!

Middle school or not, transportation to a centrally located school has been happening for YEARS and will continue to be that way.

And once again, State Law only allows children to be on a school bus a certain length of time each day, so there is no fear of them being on a bus any longer than they are now because it is AGAINST THE LAW!

March 01, 2011 at 8:05am
Corey, Even the Supervisor of Transportation stated at some of the forums that this would be a transportation nightmare. Her words not mine.
March 01, 2011 at 10:44am
I didn't say there would not be problems teacher, what I said was if you would take the time and read it, was that we are already busing kids from all over the county to one centrally located school.

If we can somehow function and manage to bus students from all over the county to one High School, I think we can somehow function and manage to bus them to a middle school if one was ever designated.

You and a lot others are acting like this would be something brand new that we have never faced and that is simply not true.

Sure there would be issues, but not on the drastic level you or anyone else is portraying it to be. It is just another reason to say NO or find something to say against the idea of change.
March 01, 2011 at 1:09pm
If YOU would take the time to read my statement (as you like to tell others) you would see that this came from the transportation supervisor, not me!
March 01, 2011 at 1:49pm
We are not the only small town that has ever had to deal with this problem. Pickett County dealt with this decades ago. They had several different schools throughout their communities, and they also had issues with school budget. Ultimately what happened was they consolidated from 3 or 4 different smaller schools into one, and it has remained that way ever since. The transportation would not be bad if the schools were consolidated because now you had more buses running to the same school(s). You increase the amount of buses going to one school transportation time is lessened.

I will say it one more time...Why are we worried about busing when we need to figure out how to pay for the debts owed by the addition of Woodbury Grammar and the additions made to the other schools without raising taxes? This is the ultimate question.
March 01, 2011 at 4:48pm
efisk I agree dude, but when the people are obsessed with keeping things the same as they were in 1958 they tend to not be able to see the forest for the trees.

Raising taxes is coming regardless of what is decided about the schools because no one had the forethought to plan 10 years ago and now we have dipped into the reserves and the economy stinks and we have no way to pay for it.

We won't be paying anything off by raising taxes; we will simply be offsetting what we are over budget.

And teacher, I was there. I heard the response from the transportation director and I know what she said also. You didn't have to rehash what she already said.

Like I said, it is just another way to say NO because you don't want to lay aside your own personal feelings for the good of the whole.

And you are getting tore up for nothing because the County Commissioners aren't going to give a dime toward building anything, so calm down and relax. You are ultimately going to get what you want anyway.
March 01, 2011 at 4:59pm
Corey, you are so correct. We have to plan home and business budget for a year, the government needs to do so as well. What is the biggest burden on the counties budget? What programs are not doing anything but sucking money from the bottom line? Trim those programs or cut them off, and then you can pay down our debts. Put that is to practical and easy.
March 02, 2011 at 10:20pm
There seems to be this idea that planning should have begun 10 years ago for building a middle school. 10 years ago was 2001. Our overall school enrollment today in 2011 is not significantly greater than it was in 2001. This was also the year we were attacked and our economy bottomed out then as well. I don't think it a fair assessment to blame those of 10 years ago for a failing economy that has caused the School Board in 2010-11 to have to dip into its reserves. Who knew in 2001 that our Federal Government would be so badly managed by two presidents and two Congresses back to back as we have recently seen? Is it not the failing economy that has caused this problem? Our population has certainly not increased this much. If anything, we have fewer students enrolled in our county schools today than 10 years ago.
March 03, 2011 at 7:36am
I beg to differ-good times, bad times, up times, down times-- it doesn't matter--forecasting, planning, evaluation and reassessment is a continuous process preformed by competent and successful mangers.
March 03, 2011 at 2:56pm
Blue, my intent was simply stating that had the County Commissioners, school board and the people of Cannon County not been so driven by the idea of losing basketball games between the schools before we built WGS we wouldn't be in the mess we are today.

We should have built a Middle School 11 years ago when we built WGS. We should have slowly been reducing the number of schools we had from six down to three or two.

During that time we should have raised our property taxes a nickel for example and placed that money into some sort of interest bearing fund toward building a new High School.

Instead we went with tradition and sentiment and built a new WGS so we could keep basketball games, spent millions in additions to schools built in the 1950's and haven't saved a dime during any of the following years and have no building projects, land sites or plans today because of that incompetence.

Today we are just plodding along, hoping tomorrow will some how take care of itself with no idea on what to do or where we will end up. We have a few people who are trying to do something, but we have a lot more who are trying harder to keep it the same as it has always been. That is evident by the comments above and in previous articles.

And what is sad, if you read the Cannon Courier this week you will see the students themselves are smarter than most of the adults because they recognize the good a Middle School would do.

If we don't get anything out of this, I certainly hope we all demand our elected officials start planning to help the next generation of students going to school today that was built in 1958.
March 04, 2011 at 11:21am
Corey, I agree with you on your statement about the kids know. My son came home from school and said he does not want to switch schools because of a middle school. He would rather stay in his present school a few more years. He told me that they sent a letter home for the parents to fill out, and said just mark no that is what everybody is going to tell their parents to do.

I also agree with you that we need to have a plan for the future, and stop living in now or based on the past.

Blue, if the enrollment has not increased anymore than what it was in 2001, and if there are fewer kids enrolled in our county schools then why are we talking about a middle school? Is it because we are trying to be like McMinnville (a county that is struggling to meet their own budget), or are we trying to be like Murfreesboro (a county that sees all of Cannon County's tax revenue)? Is our county trying to do the same thing that 95% of our country has done for the past who knows how many years, and keep up with the Jones's?
March 04, 2011 at 8:48pm
I have spent a lot of time reading and thinking about the opinions concerning a middle school. I would at this time like to add some food for thought. I realize that some, maybe several, will not agree with me, but we are all still entitled to our opinion. I certainly do not have all the answers, but so far I have read nothing to indicate that anyone else does either.

I have lived in this county all my life. Sure, it was a big change going from eighth grade to high school. I was excited but nervous about attending a big school but that is life, and one must learn adjust to changes.

As far as the problems with discipline in the high school, as I remember it, the majority of the problems began when parents stopped punishing their children. Then the teachers were not, and are not, allowed to discipline students either. Children are not born knowing how to act. Someone must teach them and when there is no punishment … there is no reason not to do as they wish as opposed to how they should be acting. Again, as stated in some of the other comments, it is the parents’ responsibility to teach their children how to act respectfully and encourage them to learn not just let them grow. My parents always told me that if I ever got a spanking at school, I could expect one when I got home. Guess what, I never was spanked at school. A middle school, nor any other school, will ‘fix’ this problem. Oh, for the most important point, when prayer and God were removed from our schools, we were just asking for problems.

Addressing the financial issue, it makes absolutely no sense to me with the current economic situation both locally and nationally to go further in debt millions of dollars when we already owe millions. I would like to have a bigger home but am ever so thankful for the 39 year old home I have. When something needs repair, it is much cheaper to repair it than to ditch it and buy or build another one that in a few years would also require repairs. As a taxpayer for 39 years, I feel that taxpayers should have a vote for how our monies are spent. If the people for this middle school want it so badly, perhaps, they can fund it rather than expect everyone else to pay for it with taxes, taxes, and more taxes. We have several elderly property owners who are on fixed income. We, also, have people struggling to keep their homes and pay the property taxes, etc. It really is easy to spend someone else’s money, and common sense should come into play at this point.

Lastly, I audit students’ records for degree requirements at MTSU. I have found that the students from Cannon County are as well adjusted as students from any other cities, counties, states, and countries and earn much better grades than some of the other students from other areas. We have many students from our county who are honor students and for that we can be very proud.

I appreciate the opportunity to express my views and apologize for the length.
March 04, 2011 at 10:52pm
I'm sure there are teachers, and county administrators who read this column daily. Why aren't we hearing from them with regard to facts, numbers, statistics or anything that would be of value toward educating the people in the county who may ultimately be asked to make such decisions? What actually was our enrollment 10 years ago versus today? Cannon County citizens deserve to know the facts.
March 05, 2011 at 6:05pm
dphillip that should hush a few of them up. I enjoyed your response.
March 05, 2011 at 8:36pm
Well put DPhillip. I agree with what you had to say.
March 06, 2011 at 11:41am
efisk, well asked questions. I don't fully know the answer. It seems more to stem out of an offering as a solution for our current financial balance issues with the School Board. I don't know how the county commissioners feel. I suspect they are equally worried about their own financial balance for the county budget. From appearances the idea was interesting enough for the School Board to form a committee to check out the possible value of such an idea. Like Corey has pointed out several times, our county cannot afford to build anything at this time.
In lieu of a building plan, it appears the idea of consolidation is being moved forward. I would enjoy reading a press release from the School Board presenting what they believe are the facts that need to be considered during this process. Cannon County citizens need to know the facts. Otherwise, far too many variables are being assumed which may or may not be pertinent to this issue. Much of the committee or "study group" have already expressed their personal opinions toward the creation of a middle school. Some of this group will be voting one way or the other should such a recommendation come forth to the School Board by this committee.
No one would argue that our county should prepare for the future. Such preparation, however, may be difficult given the already serious deficit the Schools are now facing. To dig one's self out of a hole, one must first stop digging. Maybe this is the basis for the idea of consolidation. It would be good to hear or read this explained by the school board supported with factual expenditure records, current and future enrollment predictions, monies to be saved, problems to be solved. I'm sure this will not be presented, however, until the committee makes their recommendation to the Board. I am neither for or against the idea of a middle school. Like most Cannon County taxpayers, I need to be convinced of such a need before making a decision to support such an idea. I have read and am trying to understand the merits of such an idea as expressed by those on this comment section who do support the middle school concept. I also hear those who express the opposite view point. What I am not seeing is an attempt by any government agency, be it the school board or the county government, to educate citizens with how critical this situation is or the need to find a solution for it. I suspect and expect that will be forthcoming. Thanks to the Cannon Courier for providing this forum for such discussion.
March 06, 2011 at 3:17pm
Well said above Blue.

Now is the time for the school board / middle school committee to come forward with their findings from the meetings and what they propose to do about it.

I am displeased with the entire process and how it was handled because in all honesty it was a waste of time. Before the question was ever asked in a public forum the committee or whoever should have had a lot more facts available.

Prior to any open forum this group should have had a land study, a financial study on building a new school, a transportation study and a breakdown of every dollar spent in each school to show people where the $14.2 million dollar budget is being spent. And most importantly, there should have been one or two members of the County Commission on the committee as well. No matter what the findings are the money comes from that group and if they were involved from the beginning it saves a lot of grief in the end if they decide to say NO to additional funds. Then they could have had informed meetings with facts and figures that would have allowed us all to make better judgments.

Instead the entire county is in an uproar because no community wants to lose their school, we can't afford to build, some people believe in a middle school while others don't and no one wants to consolidate. Then you have the "do nothing" crowds arguing with the people like myself who believe we have to do something or we will simply pass along a problem to the children in school now.

After it is all said and done; now it seems we just have more questions than we do answers!

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