February 08, 2011 at 6:14am
Want, Want, Want! Then complain, complain, complain when taxes go up once again. Check out the demographics of this area. Cannon County is 3 times smaller than any adjoining county. Everyone wants what everyone else has in their county. We have good schools and good teachers. I don't consider the graduation rate a reflection on our schools, but rather on the parents who aren't making their kids stay home and study instead of out running around going everywhere. Education and discipline start at home and some people want the school system to take care of both. It would be very interesting to know how many parents actually check their child's homework every night. I would be willing to bet it is around 72.7 percent.
February 08, 2011 at 7:27am
Cedric, I'm sure there are parents who would blame the graduation rate problem on the teachers and school system. But if everyone is in agreement that the process is working well, let's just petition the state for a waiver of the graduation benchmark on the grounds that our parents and teachers are 20 percent inferior to the rest of the state.
February 08, 2011 at 7:43am
Cedric, I'm one of those parent's that checked my child's homework. I'm mixed on this issue due to the fact that we feel the high school needs a major overhaul. There are so many problems there. Our children did great until they got into high school. Then it was a struggle. I think a forum needs to be made for past and present high school students. You could find out alot about how the transition from each of the county schools were when they entered high school. You would then see where the problems really are.
February 08, 2011 at 8:13am
"Our children did great until they got into high school. Then it was a struggle."
Is it not worth giving some consideration then to the manner and preparedness of the students who are being transitioned to the high school, along with what happens to them after they arrive?
February 08, 2011 at 8:31am
I also stated that I was mixed on the issue. I agree that all the schools need to be on the same page before they enter high school. However, all that will be a waste if alot of things are not changed at the high school. It seems so many ppl in this county are blind to the problems going on at the high school.
February 08, 2011 at 9:03am
Then it looks like they need to work on the High School before they start a new projected middle school. Creating a middle school is NOT going to fix the broken high school problem. And they have taken about all the power from our teachers. They keep adding more and more for them to do but teach, and make it harder and harder for them to punish the kids. What is everyone expecting, GOD is the only miracle worker I know.
February 08, 2011 at 9:31am
Everyone keeps talking about transition as if it were the determining factor for poor grades. I am not sure I am buying into that theory at all.
I have dealt with it three different times and going from Grammar School to High School was never the problem. Every child I have ever talked with always seemed to relish the idea of moving up to High School. It was fun and exciting and new. I haven't met a single student who said "I wish I could just stay in Grammar School".
I think Cedric and tngram both have valid points. Cedric is right that it begins first and foremost in the home with the parents and the child. That involvement is CRUCIAL to the development, well-being, adjustment and grades of the child. Without it, everything else will almost always fail.
tngram you are correct about High School being a struggle, but that comes primarily from the inconsistent ways our children are taught across six different schools. And I am not talking about having bad teachers; I am saying that students are just taught differently because there is no standard to follow.
We all have that favorite teacher. The one who inspired us or taught us in a way that made us want to learn. Wouldn't it be nice to have that more consistently across the board?
February 08, 2011 at 10:52am
Cedric you are absolutely right in what you said! And redneck you are soo right too! Corey, we have students tell us all the time how they dread high school and wish they could stay with us, but that is part of growing up. Students are taught in different ways because different students learn in different ways. If they all taught the same you might not have that favorite teacher. She evidently taught in a way that you learned best. Other teachers might have taught in a way that your classmates learned best, and your classmates might have different favorite teachers. And by the way, thanks for saying we don't have bad teachers and then throwing in the punch at the end about teachers inspiring us "wouldn't it be nice to have that more consistently across the board".
February 08, 2011 at 10:57am
For a county with a tax base as finite as Cannon the Board has only one question to resolve.
How can they spend the dollars available to obtain the very best education for the children?
It shouldn't have anything to do with whether or not some teachers will retain a position in the end and whether curly bulbs will need to utilized (hopefully more efficient opportunities will come into play-- it is extremely short sighted not to look down the pike).
Mr Sain has pointed the way to how students can become better--teachers who can focus on a minimum number of subjects and are well versed in those subjects. Ms Bratcher nicely addressed an existing issue.
Some of us attended a one room school with eight grades and one teacher and can recall that transition into classrooms where one teacher taught only one or two subjects. Our knowledge increased exponentially.
Should the board decide middle schools will accomplish the goal of graduating students who can better compete in this changing and more demanding economy and more dollars are needed to achieve that goals, All should welcome the opportunity to do so.
After all, it is only the future that is at stake.
February 08, 2011 at 10:59am
I'm not talking about struggling due to bad grades. I'm talking about a struggle to stay motivated with all that is going on at the high school. All my kids made good grades. However many times we dealt with them wanting to go to another school that had more to offer in curriculum. I agree with redneckgurly. To much is put on some of the teachers. Then again..we have seen some that are not teaching certain classes as well as they should be.
February 08, 2011 at 12:41pm
i have not dealt with many teachers at the high school, but have at some of the elementary schools... they are all great and each individual teaching syle is unique to them... they are all qualified otherwise they wouldn't be teaching...the issue with grades dropping once in high school may have more to do with the child self esteem not nessarily the teaching... it is a big step for a child going from a small school to a larger one especially when the class in smaller schools in 8th grade are only 15-20... they may feel intimadated by this alone, then add the changing class factor, and the teen/pre-teen hormones and i think we got a bunch of kids who are pretty much scared and worried about doing the wrong thing...therefore 1 idea that might benefit students and teacher alike are transission workshops where kids can go and meet the others entering highschool and their new teachers, plus get a feel of the general layout of the high school, and i know that we have a new registration night for incoming freshman but really how much time is there to explore and kids to get to know others, teachers and their way around... i think we'd all benefit from 1-2 days in the summer for high school open house.. maybe a begin of school carnival... and also i think that the seniors should all have to take a freshman under their wing kind of like a mentor.... teachers are doing all they can in high school...especially with all the teenage drama and cliques....
i'm not knocking teens because i was once 1 and i'm not to old that i don't remember what it was like to be one...all i'm saying is if the kid feels comfortable in their surroundings then they will be more apt to want to suceed and aim for the 4.0...
moms and dads it's your job to try and help your kid along with this let them know that you are pround of what they are achieving ...or trying to achieve
February 08, 2011 at 1:55pm
I would love to see an extended article from the students point of view. I wonder if this is possible?
It would help me understand the pace of things if there was more feedback from the students themselves.
February 08, 2011 at 2:22pm
Jeff, an article from that angle was suggested to Tony this past weekend and should be forthcoming within the next 3-4 weeks.
February 08, 2011 at 3:34pm
teacher once again, you and I can't seem to get on the same page. I was not jabbing at the teachers in my last comment; I was referring to how one group of kids were taught at one school vs. another school when I said wouldn't it be nice if it were more consistent. Nothing more, nothing less. Calm down a little. Take a blood pressure pill before you read all the comments.
And I can't believe I am saying this, but dailyreader you and I agree on this one when you said: "How can they spend the dollars available to obtain the very best education for the children?"
That in itself has been my strongest argument for building a new school for Cannon County. Doing nothing is not an option and one that will only pass a problem that is unavoidable on to the students who are currently in school today.
The current system we have is not utilizing the dollars we spend on the six elementary schools in a way that is the most beneficial to our students.
There is absolutely no way we are giving our children a $5000 or $6000 education per student each year. And that is what we are currently spending at three out of the six schools each year.
When everyone figures that out and lays aside the sentimental and personal reasons, then we will be able to move forward. Until then we are stuck in the muck spinning our wheels.
February 08, 2011 at 5:15pm
Some high schools are doing a freshman academy to make the transition easier for students. It is not a 100% fix but I have been told it is helpful. I know one county close to Cannon that has a middle school but had to put in a freshman academy to help students with high school transition. The high school has increased their test scores and graduation rate due in part to the freshman academy. Middle schools don't work for high school transition. That is a myth to say they do.
During my teaching career I have taught in high schools that had students from middle schools and students from K-8 schools coming together into the same high schools. In the 15+ years I was there the majority of our valedictorians and salutatorians and top 20 students were from the K-8 schools. The majority of discipline problems we had at the schools were from the middle school students and their inability to transition from school to school. The motivation of students to learn was very low from middle school students compared to the K-8 students. And finally, the majority of dropouts came from guess where?? Yep the middle school. I have experienced teaching in middle schools and seeing the finished product of middle schools in high schools and not all students that come from middle schools are bad, and not all students that come from K-8 schools are good. But if you look at the overall picture a middle school is not the best way to educate students.
I feel their has got to be a better solution to the county's financial woes than putting in a middle school.
February 08, 2011 at 7:59pm
Well collegepro69 it would be nice to see hard facts based on rural schools, and not supposition, but nonetheless it does not appear our current system is "the best way to educate students" if almost 30 percent are not graduating.
"I feel their has got to be a better solution to the county's financial woes than putting in a middle school."
Again, supposition. I have not heard anyone mention until now a middle school was being studied because of "money woes."
February 08, 2011 at 8:33pm
Kevin, if this is not being done due to money woes then why are school board members telling the teachers that this has to be looked at because the county is out of money and can not run the system any longer as it is now? I know that some teachers in this county were told that.
February 08, 2011 at 8:44pm
A middle school as a means of addressing money woes has not been mentioned at any of the forums I have attended. Even if there is not a middle school there are still going to be money woes in the next few years due to the continuing poor economy. Even without a middle school it might be fiscally responsible to consolidate some of the smaller K-8 schools in the county.
February 09, 2011 at 6:46am
Money woes are an issue and to say they are not is a "myth" as collegepro would say.
As we were told in the first meeting, the schools system is currently $759,000 into their reserves.
According to the board members and Barbara Parker it cost the county approximately $800,000 per school to keep the doors open each year.
Eastside has 119 students enrolled. Auburntown has 142 students enrolled and Short Mountain has 146 students enrolled.
So using the numbers given to us by the board and the Director of Schools it cost the county $2.4 million dollars a year to keep three elementary schools open for a total enrollment of 407 students.
That means we spend $5,896.80 PER STUDENT each year for just those three schools.
So teacher you and collegepro can research, promote and believe the idea of keeping all of these schools open is better for the students and the county, but the numbers just don't lie. Financially it will doom us if we continue to sink money into a bottomless pit.
If either of you can show where the test scores or the studies prove that these students are receiving a $5000.00 plus a year education, then I would love to see it.
How many of you who say you don't want a property tax increase think that the cost of maintaining six elementary schools is not going to INCREASE as time continues?
How many of you think that your child is getting a $5000 plus education a year?
How many of you think that at some point that the county is not going to have to increase the school budget (which means more taxes) to compensate for a $759,000 shortfall?
Say what you want, believe what you want, but in the end you can't argue the truth.
February 09, 2011 at 9:26am
Corey you have made this point several times and a couple issues always stick out to me.
I know you are relying on the information supplied but your 800k is and average and we cant justify making a decision without knowing the actual numbers for each school. (I would dare to make a major decision based on the assumption that it cost 800k to maintain Short Mountain and 800k for WGS).
Also what is the cost of a new school? What is a new schools annual interest cost ,maintenance and deprecation cost? how many students will this new school accommodate? Now we can compare accurate per student cost.
If anyone has some of these numbers I am sure we would all appreciate them, also does any one have any cost per student data for state and nation?
February 09, 2011 at 9:54am
Now who needs the blood pressure pill?? Your same rhetoric being repeated over and over is nothing new and your figures are only estimates. YOU came up with the figure of $800,000 per school--it was never broken down like that. You may not think your children are getting an education worth that much, but I believe all children are worth whatever it takes to help them be successful in life!!
February 09, 2011 at 10:38am
Iam with you teacher you and students know what is going on you can lead horse to water but cannot make him drink.Rhetoric good word for these opinions.Let see some action
February 09, 2011 at 11:34am
You were asking how much would a middle school cost. The county would be looking at a cost between $20-$25 mil. to build a middle school. They also figure for land at least one acre for every ten students. The county where I teach is looking to possibly buy land to build either a high school or a elementary school. A high school to accomadate 800 students will cost between $45-$50 mil and a middle school or elementary school would be about half that cost. The reason for extra cost on a high school is for career and technical education shops and labs.
I have heard in the county where I teach that they are considering turning our middle school into the high school because they are connected, and building a new K-8 elementary school instead of a new high school.
February 09, 2011 at 2:20pm
I dont know what amortized time and rate a public school would work with but assuming 20 years at 3% of 25 million for 800 students, principal and interest only would equal approximately $2100 per student. (PI PMT=1,681,000/800=2101.25)
I still don't know if I believe a middle school to be the best all around situation but will admit interest rates will probably never be lower and quality labor is available.
Has it been considered to close Short Mountain and expand Eastside. Then possibly expanding Auburntown and Woodland with rezoning to relieve other locations. This scenario still leaves high school situation unanswered.
February 09, 2011 at 3:05pm
The $800,000 figure I use in my comments was quoted directly to the audience that was in attendance at the first forum at WGS. It was spoken by the members of the school board and Director of Schools Barbara Parker. I asked that question directly to them and that was the answer they gave. So teacher you obviously weren’t at the WGS meeting and you obviously do not know what you are talking about.
goober I don't do anything half way. Before I quoted these figures, I emailed Barbara Parker directly and asked for a breakdown of each individual school's budget for the express purpose of trying to determine what the cost per student was at each school.
Barbara stated in her email that there was no individual budget for each school.
The total school budget was $14.2 million a year. That is why I expressly asked what the breakdown of each school was at the first forum. I wanted to know just like you. I still have the email and will be glad to forward it to anyone who would like to read it. Just give me your email address and I will send it to you.
And at no time was a $40 to $50 million figure to build a middle school ever stated. To the contrary Barbara stated at most $15 million when were at the WGS forum. And if I remember correctly, that figure was based on building a new High School, not a Middle School.
teacher I repeat the same "rhetoric" as you would call it over and over again because you are very biased and can't be objective in what you are trying to convince the people of Cannon County when you post comments. What I write is based on FACTS given to the public by the Director of Schools in a public forum and in an email that I will forward to you upon request.
What you write is purely 100% your opinion because of your personal feelings. You don’t want anything to change because it affects you directly. I want change because we all are affected by it, especially the children of our county.
Everyone needs to understand that if we continue on the same road we are on then we face certain financial downfall. If you don't think we aren't going to face a property tax increase to offset the current $759,000 short-fall we currently have then you are more gullible than I thought.
I don't ask anyone to believe me.
#1. You should have come to the open forums.
#2. You can call them or email them just like I did with your questions and see if our numbers match up. I still have the emails and I will gladly compare it to what you find out.
February 09, 2011 at 5:08pm
my point was and still is to take the total cost and divide by the number of schools is not a true representation of the cost for each schools.
February 09, 2011 at 6:10pm
That is partly true Corey. You may can get a middle school building for $15 million. And that price tag may include a gym, but you will not be able to build outdoor sports facilities for that school and stay at $15 million. IMPOSSIBLE!!! And the land will have to be added to that as well. I have been in education a good while and I have never seen a building built for what was originally projected.
Plus that $15 million does not include furnishings to supply the schools with state of the art technology. All new schools have to have that state of the art technology.
Plus it will probably be hard to let loose of $15 million to build a middle school due to the fact that I would guess that WGS is not paid for.
I agree that WGS was in great need of a new school, and I was glad to see the community get a new school, and I know the community is proud of it because it is very nice. But that was probably the mistake that was made nine years ago. If there is a need for a middle school it should have been built rather then the new WGS. That has put a limit on funds for any type of new school in the county for at least five more years. Possibly even longer.
I agree that planning needs to be done. Education is very important for the future of all children. Taxpayers want to see their money utilized wisely and they have the control of the situation by the power to vote. I suggest that instead of letting these forums that have expressed mixed feelings, and the board of education with only 3 votes decide a middle school have taxpayers of the county by a referendum on the next ballot be the determining factor on what happens with the middle school. This is a very important decision that effects each person in the county. That would be the only fair way to solve this problem.
February 09, 2011 at 6:39pm
bleach, I am hoping it does come down to a referendum. I want to know whether the people of Cannon County want to invest in their future by providing students with better educational resources. I want to know if they want to make their community a better place to live and prosper by offering the educational advantages that would entice more people and businesses to come here. I want to know if some people are serious about providing children a quality education, or whether they are more concerned with keeping their jobs or their community school and basketball team. I want to know whether they think small, or believe that any goal is achievable if you believe you can overcome all obstacles.
February 09, 2011 at 8:21pm
goober I would love to know the breakdown of the schools myself, however all I can write about are the numbers that were given to me by the school board and Barbara. She says in her email to me that there is no specific budget for each school. The board members stated in the WGS meeting they spent approximately $800,000 per school each year. They also stated they were $759,000 into their STATE MANDATED reserves.
I agree with you that it is not a fair representation, but it is the only one that can be given based on the information we all have available. And even though it may not be 100% accurate, we can safely say that even if we deduct $2500 per student off of my estimates due to margin of error, we are still spending approximately $3000 per student.
Does anyone believe that the students are getting a $3000 education each year? Again, do you honestly believe we aren’t going to see a property tax increase in a non-election year when the budget is already over by $759,000? Seriously, does anyone not see that coming a mile a way?
Let me say it again for everyone. I am not for building any specific school or closing any specific school. I am just saying that to remain in our current state when we know it isn't working and we know the financial aspects of it will continually get worse is at the very least ludicrous.
The days of six elementary schools have to come to an end or it will end us financially. That could mean building, annexing or even combining schools. I think it is all up in the air at this point with every option on the table.
And Kevin my problem with a referendum is no one votes unless it is a Sheriff's race.
Which means 2% of the voters will decide what the other 98% live by. And the 2% that will show up to vote won't have kids and vote no and we are right back where we started. Doing nothing is not an option anymore.
I am all for taking it to the people for a vote if the people would actually get out and vote. I have to ask though, what are they voting for or against?
Is the vote to build a middle school? Or a new High School? Are we voting to combine elementary schools? Annex on to WGS? If you vote yes to combine, do we hold another vote to decide which schools are closed?
I don't mean anything sarcastic about these questions at all; I just wonder where a vote will actually take us and if it will solve the problem? If the vote comes back no, then we have just simply passed it along to the students we have in school today.
And that is not something I am willing to pass on to my sons or daughter. Are any of you?
February 10, 2011 at 4:00am
Kevin,if it does come down to a referendum and with the mindset and track record of this county the middle school idea will be just that "it ain't happening"!What is the old saying "don't get above your raising" sad to say but thats what we are fundamentally providing as far as education facilities and resources.Think about it what has this county done other than provide BASIC educational experiance for its children ,the new WGS facility was built only out of necessity ,the previous building was it such bad shape something had to be done.The Cannon co. school system and facilities will never see a radical change for the good until we have leadership and educators that have experianced first hand what we are depriving our children of.
February 10, 2011 at 7:42am
Corey, I met a lady yesterday who recently moved here from LaVergne who said she did so because Woodbury reminded her of Mayberry. I told her I'd rather it be more like Mount Pilot. Worth noting is she home schools her four children.
February 10, 2011 at 8:03am
Are there any stats on which elementary schools yield the highest percentages of high school graduates? Would be interesting to see before we go closing down elementary schools in the county that may be doing a great job in educating our students.
February 10, 2011 at 9:05am
I think kids should have new schools and well built with all modern equipment.Daily reader teacher lucy dog get my vote.If you go to the work force or army after graduation one or two strikes for wrong doing and you are fired.We let ones that are leading some of other students wrong way back into system.It starts at home also so if parents and students are not willing to learn or change then kick them out school system so teachers who work hard and students that are willing to learn can go on to graduate.
February 10, 2011 at 9:26am
Moral of this story is if you do not get your education you will wind up like Goober Ernest t bass OR Otis in jail.
February 10, 2011 at 11:18am
Wow dmm49 you lose me more and more. From what I have read above, you just agreed with three different people all with different opinions.
I am not sure what the army reference with the one or two strikes and getting fired meant at all.
Can you clarify what you are agreeing on?
February 10, 2011 at 11:29am
Also, I need clarification from all of you who are anti-middle school and members of the “do-nothing party”.
The argument has been that a middle school is detrimental to the education of the students because:
a. We would lose the smaller classes / student teacher ratio.
b. It is too much of an adjustment for them to cope with because they are used to the smaller schools.
c. Middle schools have lower test scores than elementary schools.
And although I have seen no evidence of that by any of you, or link to a website that you are quoting from, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and trust you are not just making it up.
You all say our teachers are the best and I do agree with that. Yet, you all act like they will surely fail if we change our current system to something different. You all act like that our students will be certain to fail if we build them a new school that offers more opportunities, more state of the art facilities and more cohesiveness.
I wonder why it is your first reaction to change is failure. Do you not have any faith in our ability to adapt and work together? Is the idea of change that devastating to you that you sincerely believe our children are doomed before we even try?
What kind of attitude is that? It is not one that I want you to teach my children and one you should be ashamed of.
February 10, 2011 at 4:18pm
Corey, Since I am probably "one of you all" I am not ashamed to try to gather all pertinent information before I make a decision or choice a side. I am also humble enough to know that my opinion is just that --an opinion. I do believe some very well informed people have joined in on this conversation which has been enlightening and encouraging. I also believe most of those on the "you all" list, as I, believe we must do all we can for our children and we are in desperate need of change or improvements. Our question or query is what can we afford and how do we get the most out of it?
I know we tend to wait till the wheel falls off before we fix it and once it is fixed we don't worry about it till if falls off again. For many reasons including our procrastination, we need to make sure whatever we do will serve us well till it breaks again. Our room for error is marginal.
I hope our decision makers will take everything into consideration and reach a decision that benefits all.
Kevin, I too enjoy my life in Mayberry with all the benefits of Mount Pilot just down the road. When we are consumed by our neighbors to the west, a few will reap financial gains but most will just reminisce days gone by.
February 10, 2011 at 4:28pm
goober, our entire community will benefit, financially and socially, from improved educational resources and opportunities for our students, not just a few. I'm not looking to turn Cannon County into Rutherford County. I am looking to make Cannon County the best it can be. It's a difficult goal to attain, as the on again, off again Three-Star effort has demonstrated.
February 10, 2011 at 6:53pm
Kevin, again I agree totally. My Mayberry comment had nothing to do with education as I am sure Andy would only allow for the best. My Mayberry comment was just how I do very much appreciate the small town life. I do not admire the small minded life which does interfere with many of the advances we need so badly. Sadly though, it is just a matter of time until Cannon will be a suburb of the boro, may be after my time but it is inevitable.
February 11, 2011 at 4:08pm
goober I had not consider you part of the "you all" membership until you said you were. I had not seen anything out of you prior to put you in that group and I am not sure you really belong there.
The group I was referring to was the procrastinators and the do-nothings when I referred to "you all".
I too also like to gather all pertinent information before I like to make decisions. I also pride my self on being very open to listening to all ideas, with the exception of one, which is to do nothing.
Our problem (and I mean all of the people of Cannon County when I say "our") is accepting that we have a problem. That is the first step. And I have simply tried to make everyone understand that keeping six elementary schools open has been, is currently and will become an even bigger financial problem if we continue to do so.
I haven't seen the gloom and doom out of you like I have the rest that is why I say I didn't have you grouped with them. I have more faith in our students, our parents and our teachers to believe that if we change what we currently have that we are not destined to failure as some have tried to make everyone believe.
I guarantee you if we had the money to build a Middle School that our students would be very successful and so would our teachers. I just wish a couple of more people had that same belief. It is very frustrating when they only see the negative because they are blinded by their own personal issues.
February 11, 2011 at 8:45pm
Guess there is no answer to my question. Until there is the jury is out. I do need facts and answers to questions before jumping on any band wagon.
February 11, 2011 at 9:01pm
Goober, well said. We are being absorbed little by little and one day we will wake up and have nothing left that is our own any longer. We may just get annexed before it is all over if the economy doesn't pick back up soon! While we continue to look westward, our neighbor there also continues to look westward. In short they could care less about Cannon County were it not for the money we spend there.
We can't compete with them when it comes to student expenditures for education. We don't have the tax base to do that. And as the example of Washington D.C. shows us, it is not the amount of dollars we spend that determines the quality of education we provide.
February 11, 2011 at 9:50pm
Never mind. I see now why my question wasn't answered. Should have done the research myself. Sorry for being lazy.
Bottom line is the smallest elementary schools in our county have the highest TCAP scores in case anyone wishes to know. Data available on Tenn. Dept. of Education website. Yes, this certainly raises a lot of questions.
February 13, 2011 at 1:27pm
Rezoning might well provide students a better learning opportunity. From the looks of the TCAP scores, I don't understand why Woodbury Elementary students are not being sent to where they have a better opportunity of learning. That's not saying anything negative about the teachers in Woodbury but this may reflect that smaller classroom provide a greater learning experience. Otherwise, what other explanation is there for the disparity of grades between this school and smaller ones in the county?
February 13, 2011 at 4:57pm
The larger schools have a greater percentage of students whose socioeconomic status is inferior than do the smaller schools.
February 13, 2011 at 7:50pm
Sounds like a good case for rezoning in order to redistribute these lesser socioeconomic level kids into environments where their special needs might be better addressed. Such strategies are not new to our education system. If the goal is to bring about better educated students from elementary schools so they perform better in high school, then would seem to be one way to do this.
February 14, 2011 at 2:01pm
Blue let me start by saying that your idea to "rezone in order to redistribute these lesser socioeconomic level kids into environments where their special needs might be better addressed" would not solve a problem, it would simply re-shuffle a problem to another area.
Moving a socioeconomic child from Westside to WGS does nothing for the child's problem, it just simply moves them out of one school to another. Re-zoning is designed to ensure a student is enrolled in the proper school district that he or she is lives in. That in no way will solve the financial disadvantages that child may face. To my knowledge all schools are equal in dealing with those types of issues.
From what we were told in the WGS meeting, zoning is not an issue at the current time because we are not at capacity at any school. Therefore, students who want to attend a school outside of their district are allowed to unless it becomes a problem.
Re-zoning would help reduce the amount of students in a few of the schools, but it would also increase the amount of students enrolled at others. And that is one of the strong points for the "doing nothing", doom and gloom naysayers who love to point out is the primary reason for such great TCAP scores; lower student per teacher ratio.
I too decided it was time for a little more research, so I went to www.zillow.com/schools/TN-Woodbury/Cannon County and I want you all to see the massive difference in your smaller schools vs. the larger ones and you explain how spending $800,000 per year on each school is justified.
These are the 2009 scores for the top three TCAP scores in Math-Reading-Science.
Auburntown 89 Math 94 Reading 85 Science 15.3% student ratio (9 teachers) 46.9% students eat free lunches
Eastside 93 Math 92 Reading 87 Science 11.4% student ratio (10 teachers) 46.7% students eat free lunches
Short Mt. 90 Math 95 Reading 88 Science 13.4% student ratio (11 teachers) 54.7% eat free lunches
Westside 87 Math 95 Reading 90 Science 13.7% student ratio (22 teachers) 45% eat free lunches
Woodland 88 Math 93 Reading 85 Science 16.8% student ratio (22 teachers) 46% eat free lunches
Woodbury 80 Math 87 Reading 73 Science 13.8% student ratio (30 teachers) 66.8% eat free lunches
So if you look closely, the idea of lesser students per teachers make greater test scores doesn't wash at all. WGS has one of the lower students per teacher ratio's but by far the worst scores. However, it also has the highest student enrollment in the county and 66% of its students eat free lunches. Which means it also has the highest number of socioeconomically disadvantaged children.
Westside has double the amount of students as Auburntown yet they are 2 points below Auburntown in Math, but they are 1 point above them in Reading and 5 points above them in Science.
Woodland vs. Eastside shows a 1 point advantage for Woodland in Reading even with a TRIPLE enrollment ratio difference.
This whole theory that smaller classes make smarter students is hogwash. The number one reason for "smarter students" is and always will be "involved parents". Secondly the economic and social environment of the child plays a huge role in how the child learns and develops. Third comes the teacher and somewhere after all of the other things I could list, falls the size of the classroom.
We have larger schools outperforming the smaller schools in many different ways to include TCAP scores in different subjects. So, I agree with you, this certainly does raises a lot of questions.
Primarily, how can we justify spending $800,000 a year on schools with 9 or 10 teachers when they are being out performed by schools with two and three times the enrollment.
February 14, 2011 at 11:40pm
Corey, Either I'm not following your logic or something is wrong with the logic. From your numbers you are trying to make a point that larger schools outperform smaller ones. I see Eastside outscoring Woodbury on TCAP scores a total of 32 points across the three subject fields while Eastside has only 10 teachers and Woodbury has 30? And then you say, "To my knowledge all schools are equal in dealing with those types of issues" meaning that the socioeconomic levels of students makes no difference in the equation? Then, again, why the disparity? You say it is involved parents. Does this mean the lower TCAP scores from Woodbury Grammar are a result of the lack of parental involvement? I'm not trying to be a nay-sayer. I'm just trying to understand why in our county the larger the school, the lower the TCAP scores. Or conversely, the smaller the school enrollment, the higher the TCAP scores.
And what is our drop-out rate reflective of? Is it because of a lack of parental involvement in Grammar School? Do we have stats with regard to the socioeconomic status of the drop outs from high-school? Are they failing to graduate because of failing grades or lack of interest in school? Until we know the primary reason for dropping out of high school, we cannot begin to fix this problem. I agree that simply throwing money at a problem may not be the solution but I'm not convinced yet that we have the problem targeted properly and that creating a middle school is a solution. I need a greater understanding of the problem before accepting there is only one option to consider.
February 15, 2011 at 6:55am
Blue if you look at the TCAP scores for Reading at Eastside it is 92. If you look at the TCAP score for Westside it is 95. If you look at the TCAP score for Science at Eastside it is 87. If you look at Westside Science it is at 90. Westside has TRIPLE the enrollment as Eastside.
If you look at Auburntown versus Woodland there is a 1 point difference in the Math and the Reading and the Science category is tied with both having the same score. Woodland has TRIPLE the enrollment as Auburntown.
If you can't follow the logic that the larger schools are doing almost identical to the smaller schools and in some cases out performing them, then I can't help you.
Woodbury is the worst by far. But, again as I said before it also has the highest enrollment of all schools and the highest number of economically disadvantaged students. Therefore there test scores can't be compared to the rest because of the disparity between them all.
I have not done a dropout rate for the High School. I have not done any research for the High School for that matter. Nor do I plan to because to me this is about keeping six elementary schools open and not a High School issue.
Also, again I am neither for nor against building a Middle School. I am simply saying that keeping six schools open at a cost of $800,000 each every year when the big schools are equal to the smaller schools in TCAP scores is becoming financially impossible for this county to continue.
Everyone puts so much stock in the smaller classes vs. consolidation and yet the larger schools are equal to the task and the scores reflect it.
February 15, 2011 at 7:39am
Corey, what I am seeing is that with 3 times the students and 3 times the number of teachers, that the larger schools do not offer a noticable or signicantly greater TCAP score than the smaller ones.
I thought the idea of creating a Middle School was to better educate the students and reduce the number of drop outs from high school.
If this is all about economics as opposed to education then we have a different discussion entirely.
February 15, 2011 at 11:53am
Blue you are correct that "the larger schools do not offer a noticeable or significantly greater TCAP score than the smaller ones".
That has been my argument to teacher and collegepro this entire time. I thought that is where you were at as well.
Their argument has been that smaller schools and smaller classes make smarter students because of the student per teacher ratio. I have said all along that is hogwash because the TCAP scores for our county schools do not show a trend in that direction. It actually shows the opposite. Most of the larger schools have a one point differential and in some cases show a five point increase over the smaller schools in the TCAP testing.
For me it is the financial aspect more than anything. I see advantages and disadvantages to the idea of building a Middle School. I see advantages and disadvantages to building a new High School. Or annexing on to WGS.
I think you and I just got crossed up somewhere. I am not promoting the building of any particular idea. I think it is inevitable that we build something; I just don't think any of us have enough information to decide which one is best. We need a transportation study, a financial study, a land study, etc. before we can make that decision.
What I do know for fact based on the information we have been given by Barbara and the school board and by the TCAP scores is that keeping six elementary schools open at a cost of $800,000 per school is not an option we can afford very much longer. We are spending approximately $2.4 million dollars a year for three schools to get the same results we would get if we combined them.
How does that make sense to anyone? If you keep the personal and sentimental feelings out of it the only thing we have to ask is why haven't we done this years ago?
There is no argument against the fact we can't continue to do this year after year. And I believe there is no argument against us not facing a property tax increase in a non-election year to help offset the $759,000 the school system is already over budget.
You see where I am coming from?
February 15, 2011 at 12:16pm
TCAP scores are a fallacy,only benefit individual schools and educators ! TCAP test are suppose to be a snapshot of the childs progress , but my kids spent days cramming for the test prior to the exam date , the test should be randomly given through out the school year! More emphasis should go toward ACT scores (which Tn. ranks 4th from the bottom in U.S.)avg. ACT score 19.6 THAT is a snapshot of our education system ! And if you don't believe spending more money dosen't make a difference look at the avg. scores of a few private schools in Tn. , Brentwood Acd. for example with a avg. ACT score of 25. Now you take that 19.6 ACT with that county wide top TCAP score and see how many scholarships that will get you.
February 15, 2011 at 4:07pm
The following TN Dept. of Educ. website shows the most current data available (2010): http://edu.reportcard.state.tn.us/pls/apex/f?p=200:30:710977086115630::NO:::
You can go to the top and check to see individual schools in the county and how they rank against the state average TCAP. As a whole, Cannon County comes in at a disappointing "C" across the board in all subjects tested. Equally disappointing is how low the overall state average is. All "C's" except for one "B" in Social Studies.
It is apparent that our CC School Board has already determined that we need a middle school. Why else are they having these community meetings? What other alternatives are they offering for discussion? It is also growing more apparent that the concept of a middle school has little to nothing to do with education but more with economics. Thanks Corey for pointing this out amid much confusion. I thought educational need was the underlying drive behind this new surge of interest in a middle school. So the real discussion going forward at these meetings needs to center on economics. Now that the central idea has been revealed, will the school board address this directly with the citizens and parents? They can't sell the idea going forward "in the name of education and the best interest of the student" if the actual underlying force behind this is simply cost reduction, consolidation, and economics.
February 15, 2011 at 5:14pm
Blue, I wasn't under the impression that the School Board had already decided that a Middle School was what we needed when I attended the WGS open forum. I did feel like it was centered on the financial aspects of keeping six schools open. But, that was just how I perceived it to be. To be honest, I can't see us building anything in the near future because of the money issues we face.
Number one we don't have any.
Number two in order to get it, we would have to increase taxes in some way which is almost impossible in this economy.
And lastly, when the School Board goes in front of the County Commissioners and asks for money they will pucker up like they have eaten a green persimmon.
So honestly, the only foreseeable solution I can see is to consolidate. That relieves the extra spending we have for keeping six schools open which is what we must do in order to survive in my opinion.
However, that raises several problems. Which schools are closed, transportation issues, and teacher’s jobs, to just name a few. So the School Board has their hands full and it is not an office I envy having at all.
However if we do consolidate, in my opinion the money we save by closing a few schools should be set aside towards a building program. If we save $1 million a year, (which would be on the low end I think), then after three years we would have $3 million saved toward something. I am not sure what the “something” would be, but we would definitely be better off than we are today.
I also believe that when the property taxes are raised (which I have no doubt they will be), an extra one or two cents should also be set aside toward the SCHOOL building program as well.
We should have been doing that 10 or 15 years ago. We never plan for the future in my opinion here in Cannon County. We always seem to worry about today as it is transpiring around us. I think it is high time we take a moment and see beyond where we are today and look at where we might be tomorrow.
I think if we plan now, we might be able to build within a few years. Hopefully the economy will be somewhat better and by saving and setting aside some money we will be able to work toward a better solution.
February 15, 2011 at 9:13pm
Communities giving up their schools will be a hard sell. For whatever reason. When it comes down to making such a recommendation, each school board member and each county commissioner should be well equipped with facts and figures. Our president says that government must tighten up just like families are having to do and only go into debt twice as much as opposed to three times as much.
February 16, 2011 at 6:32am
Blue, I agree with you it will be a hard sell. Unfortunately at this point, I don't see any other solution. I would be more than happy to hear of one if someone had it.
Continuing in our current state is not an option I consider to be logical any longer. We have to change the way we conduct our business despite the sentimental and personal feelings and lose the "that's the way we have always done it before" attitude. I know that’s tough, but life is tough. We have to learn how to deal with it.
I guarantee anyone with a small amount of reason would not run their personal finances in the same manner. I guarantee you anyone with a small amount of business sense would not run their business in the same manner.
Yet, we have been told we shouldn't raise taxes (which I agree with at this time), we have been told we can't afford to build (which I agree with at this time), we have been told smaller schools do better than larger schools (which I don't agree with based on the facts), we have been told we spend approximately $800,000 per school each year to keep it open and are $759,000 into our reserves (which is reality).
We are told all of those things and the best anyone has come up with so far is to say “we should leave things like they are” and "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".
Well, it is broke and ignoring it won't make it go away. I am open to all ideas and solutions. If someone has an idea, man I want to hear it. I am not here to argue whether anyone believes that or not. But, I am no longer content to continue to pass on a problem on to my children that we could begin to solve today. I hope everyone respects that for what it is and I would also hope that is what everyone else would desire also.
February 16, 2011 at 7:26am
"we have been told we can't afford to build"
We are told that, but we have seen no studies or heard of any research that has been done on building a new school, specifically what it would cost and the various funding mechanisms available. It's like we've decided we're not going to do it, so we're not even going to bother looking into it. However, if we do have the desire to build a new school one day, and it's sooner rather than later, it would be nice to have a plan or plans already in hand.
February 16, 2011 at 7:44am
Lucy I agree total with your comment on TCAP and ACT scores.
Corey we should have been saving for a building program and it wont surprise me after we get a band-aid on this issue we will return to status quo till it breaks again.
February 16, 2011 at 7:56am
"we should have been saving for a building program"
I am not aware of any "program" to save for and that, to me, is part of the problem. Planning for the future appears to be inadequate.
February 16, 2011 at 10:08am
Attempting to "store up during the lean years" runs contrary to common sense. Massive program cut-backs or a significant property tax increase are the only ways in which new monies for such a building project can be created. Although setting aside pennies now to start such a program may be wise, it will take significantly more monies to fund any form of new building program. I would hope the first option exercised by our school board and county commission would be to look at what can be done within existing county buildings. The hope of better education is not necessarily brought about by the requirement of new buildings. And the possible advantages of consolidation are quickly lost in the face of a greater tax burden on the citizens of Cannon County.
February 16, 2011 at 12:47pm
Blue you lost me on that last statement. I am not sure how the consolidation of schools will place a greater tax burden on the citizens of Cannon County. From everything we have been told, the tax burden is more by keeping the six elementary schools open vs. consolidating them.
And the TCAP scores are proof it doesn't matter if we have a large school or a small school, so the education argument is also null and void against consolidation and building as well. In my opinion building a middle school would help our students educationally. However, since that idea seems so far out of reach we can’t just sit by and watch the birds fly by when we are in a financial crisis and we know one way to fix it. I have said it before, building a school is like having a baby, there is no perfect time or right time or better time. It is something we must face no matter how much people tries to ignore it.
At least by consolidation we save the approximate $800,000 each year we have been told is needed to keep those doors open. Multiply that by two or three schools and you have a substantial savings each year. And that alone is a start for the process of "storing up during the lean years". This in my opinion is something we should be doing all the time, not just when it fits our liking. We may not be able to save as much during the lean years, but there is no excuse for not saving at all.
goober I agree we should have been saving for a school building program years ago. I screamed about it over 10 years ago when we went through this process then. The difference then and now is that I didn't have the same outlets to scream on. I called my Commissioners at the time and of course I got the same tired answer I have been hearing over and over again. We can't afford it. Now is not a good time. We can't afford to raise taxes.
For me, I have reached the point of ENOUGH. Enough with the excuses, Enough with the arguments, Enough with "we can't" attitude. Enough with finding a reason to not be part of the solution.
It goes back to the old saying: Can't never could and won't never would.
February 16, 2011 at 2:43pm
blue, maybe you cant have a fund that covers all new construction cost but we should have the foresight to save a portion of the needed funds. also in less you predict a decline in population or growth then yes we will always need additional facilities. I also believe it is imperative to "store up for lean years" and those who act differently put us in lean years.
February 16, 2011 at 2:50pm
Well said goober!
February 16, 2011 at 7:15pm
Corey and Goober...
I agree that we need to be setting something aside for the future. That is within the ability and control of our County School Board. They designate the spending of what tax dollars are contributed by the county which in total actually makes up a very small percentage of their overall budget. It is difficult to "store up in lean years for lean years" is all that I meant by my earlier statement. The time to store up is in the fat years but for Cannon County there are seldom fat years. If there were, then where is that funding now?
My concern is how far this idea of establishing a middle school will go. Will it go to the extent that a new facility will have to be built or will the school board figure out an option involving existing structures? Corey, you have already agreed the county has no money for new building projects. What are the options for creating a middle school without building something new?
goober... the last time the middle school was a hot issue was when the State released projected growth estimates back in the early 90's. Those projections quickly faded and the idea of a middle school as quickly faded. I haven't seen the newest projections and would be interested in hearing of them should anyone know what they are.
February 16, 2011 at 10:25pm
I attended the West Side meeting and Ms. Parker was asked if it really was $800,000 to keep each school going per year. She said that they could not put a price on each individual school because they did not budget for each individual school. Their budget was in a lump sum of $14 million. This is only a formula that has been created by you and it could be that much, it could be less, it could be more, but bottom line is you have no facts to prove how much it cost to run the individual schools. Stop misleading the public with your $800,000 figure. It is all speculation. At this point the only way you will get a middle school is to convert WGS into the middle school. And the consensus of the public at the West Side meeting felt that would be the best choice in order to have a middle school. Are you willing to lose your community elementary school in Woodbury and have those students bused to outlying schools to get the change you are wanting?
February 17, 2011 at 6:51am
Bleach I attended the WGS forum and not only was I told by the school board members with Ms. Parker standing at the podium that it cost $800,000 per school each year, so was the rest of the crowd.
I have no intentions of misleading anyone. I am quoting DIRECTLY from that meeting. I have stated numerous times that I have an email from Barbara Parker stating the fact that no school has an individual budget and I am more than glad to forward it to you if you wish to provide me with an email address. Barbara was there when the $800,000 figure was told to us and at no time did she dispute it.
If you have a problem with what I am quoting, my suggestion is you take it up with your school board member because I am quite certain they were in attendance that night at WGS.
I will stand by the $800,000 cost until one of them changes their statement publically.
And to answer your question, losing my daughter's elementary school is an option I have considered. If it becomes necessary to transport my daughter to an outlying school then that is what I will do. I am not asking anyone to do anything that I am not willing to do myself. I have said this before as well, it benefits me more to walk along with the rest of you sheep and do nothing but eat the grass and think happy thoughts and wait on someone else to take care of the problem.
The difference between me and you and all of the other do nothing crowd is I have laid my personal feelings aside and am willing to do what is best for the whole. I may not like it, I may not want it and I may have to put forth a little effort that I normally wouldn’t have to, but I am not willing to continue down a path I know without a doubt will pass along a bigger problem to all of my children.
Are you saying you are willing to pass on a known problem to your children because you can't get past your own personal feelings or sentimental issues?
February 17, 2011 at 7:35am
Blue, until the money can be found or at least researched and a known figure can be presented as to the cost of building a Middle School to the public then the only option we have is to consolidate schools. Building is ideal and one I would hope we would plan on doing sooner vs. later, but that depends on the School Board and the County Commissioners.
At the WGS meeting there were several options given to us by the board members for creating a Middle School. One was to bus students K-5 from WGS to outlying schools and make the WGS the Middle School for the 6th, 7th and 8th grades. Re-zoning was also talked about, but I don’t see that as much of a solution except to relieve a few students here and there from schools they are not zoned for.
One option was to annex on to WGS which would lower costs of building an entirely new school and would still allow for a 6th, 7th and 8th grades to be placed altogether. This may be our quickest solution to building and would still allow for consolidation of smaller schools.
The idea of building a new High School and turning the old one into a Middle School was also presented. But, that goes back to the funding issue. We were told a High School would cost more to build than a Middle School.
At this point to be honest, I am not sure what the best option would be. If we had the money, in my opinion we need three schools total. A High School, a Middle School for K-5 and Jr. High School for 6th, 7th and 8th grades. That is what I think would be most beneficial to the students and the county as a whole. But, with no money that is a pipe dream.
Again, I don't know it all and I don't propose to know it all. I am as frustrated by all of this as everyone else is.
February 17, 2011 at 7:38am
Any plan for a middle school that does not eventually involve converting the current high school into a middle school and building a new high school should be rejected.
February 17, 2011 at 9:23am
Kevin I agree. However, it must be planned for and that is what we are sorely lacking from. I just hope it doesn't continue to be that way.
Unfortunately, we have too many people determined to never change despite the fact it is inevitable!
February 17, 2011 at 9:55am
Kevin, I think this to be a good long range plan should our population continue to grow and if taxpayers desire to have a middle school. The school board should then start a plan for such growth and begin saving their monies accordingly. In the short term it will be a challenge to convert the WGS into a middle school and bus the WGS kids to other schools. I would expect the uproar to begin in Woodbury for such a plan should it be proposed. Will be interesting to watch how this ends up.
Should the issue come down to which small schools to close then I would expect the school board to be prepared with costs for operating the individual schools. Can't believe they don't already have these costs broken down to this point! That would be basic homework before launching such a strategy as having meetings around the county or considering the closing of any community school. Corey, I understand your use of the $800,000 figure until something more viable can be offered up. Your challenge is well stated. The School Board should be able to break these costs down further.
February 17, 2011 at 1:34pm
For the record I will gladly stop using the $800,000 number if a member of the school board would like to comment on a more accurate figure of the cost of operating each individual school.
February 17, 2011 at 3:07pm
Best decisions are best made by a well informed public.
February 17, 2011 at 3:13pm
blue, i am not stating that i am for a middle school. Personally i like the consolidated system k-12 but that is not feasible for us now. With that said I prefer we find an efficient means of remaining k-8 if we can. I think what we all want is getting the most money we can for the education of our youth and then spending these funds wisely getting the most bang for our buck. I also understand the difficulty of saving in lean times.
I also agree that if for no more reason than cost analysis and budgeting every schools financial records should be keep separate. As i stated before i think it would be a stretch to say Short Mountain equals WGS in expenses
February 17, 2011 at 4:54pm
I'll have to say I was amazed at the idea of lumping every school into one budget as well when I was told the same thing.
I can't see how that is beneficial in any way. Seeing how we are $759,000 into the reserves, how would you pinpoint a way to save any money when you have no idea who is spending what?
I agree also goober that separate financial records are a must and would help determine which schools are more cost efficient, especially if it is determined to close one or another. I think you are also safe to say that WGS and Short Mountain are not equal in costs. But, without a known figure I have simply been using a cost that was given out in the WGS meeting because they didn’t 100% know for sure what the individual costs were.
I am not sure if the school board has a budget committee, but I believe this is one item that definitely needs to be addressed if there is a one.
February 18, 2011 at 12:20pm
The writer makes a ridiculous leap in logic in assuming that the reason for problems in the high school are due to the structure of the lower schools.
Doesn't it seem more reasonable to assume that when students are having problems in high school it has something to do with the high school?
I don't know about the rest of you but this sounds like another brilliant government plan to save money that will just end up costing us more.