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UnifiEd campaigns for increased school funding

UnifiEd pushes for increases to public education funding in the new Hamilton County Department of Education budget. (Image: WTVC)

For months, the Hamilton County School Board has faced questions about its budget.

This week, stakeholders in the school system are pushing harder than ever to get that money in the right hands.

In last week's school board meeting, the board disclosed just how large the districts budget deficit truly is.

"It was revealed that there are about $230 Million in facility needs county wide," said CSLA teacher Lesley Rice.

For Hamilton County students, that number is far from abstract.

Chattanooga Central High School Senior D'Andre Anderson feels it's effects everyday.

"I do stress out at times because I don't feel like I'm getting that same education that another student might be getting," Anderson told NewsChannel 9 on Wednesday.

Hamilton County parents are worried as well.

Julie Edmondson has three boys attending Hamilton County schools in the Ooltewah area.

As a concerned parent, Edmondson is "advocating for more funding for local education."

As of this week, Julie and other stakeholders in the Hamilton County school system aren't going it alone.

On Tuesday, UnifiEd called on Hamilton County's elected officials to prioritize funding for public education.

"We're thrilled that they're here, that they're listening, that they care, that they want the best for every student in Hamilton County," said Lesley Rice.

As one unified voice, students, teachers, and parents are calling for specific changes to the budget.

Julie Edmondson wants "to see improvements in math and literacy within the county."

As a teacher at CSLA, Lesley Rice is concerned with aging facilities across the county, "things like roofs and repairs to tracks."

Central High Senior D'Andre Anderson says "one of our biggest problems at central is our technology at central and just the supplies that we have."

You can find the full list of what UnifiEd is calling for here.

UnifiEd also has a summary of HCDE's requested increase in funds here.

In last week's school board meeting, David Testermann made the likelihood of fulfilling those requests clear.

"I'm for these things, but to get up here and do another wish list and play like there is a Santa Claus and all that stuff? Ho Ho Ho, ain't gonna happen," Testermann said.

That's not stopping stakeholders in the school district from voicing their opinions.

In fact, it's that response that's galvanized them.

"We're going to have to start standing up and let people know that we're going through this and we're going to need you to stand up for us and have our back," said Anderson.

Anderson and others will be doing just that at the next school board meeting on April 20 from 5PM - 6PM.

In a statement, UnifiEd asked "all community members who support increased funding to be at the school board meeting."




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