Commissioner Boyd slams UnifiEd's APEX project during Hamilton County commission meeting
UnifiED released a response to Commissioner Boyd's criticism on Thursday:
"The APEX Project is a grassroots community input project that gathered opinions from people in all nine Hamilton County districts. The focus is on how our community can work together to ensure every child - no matter their zip code or background - has access to a great public education.
Inequities in our schools were identified through thousands of conversations, and the ten priorities most often cited are the foundation of the APEX policy platform. The report outlines research-backed solutions to positively address those priorities.
UnifiEd elevates the voices of parents, teachers, students, and members of the community from all walks of life to identify the change they want to see in our public schools and work with one another, the school system, and our elected officials to effect that change."
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A Hamilton County commissioner came to the defense of two school board members who are against a proposal to integrate schools.
Tim Boyd criticized UnifiEd's APEX project during Wednesday's Hamilton County Commission meeting.
He also denounced remarks made against school board members Rhonda Thurman and Joe Smith.
Commissioner Boyd spent more than five minutes condemning the APEX.
"I'm offended by it," he said.
"I don't endorse it. I don't think the people of this community endorse it."
Boyd said it does not represent the values of Hamilton County. He said it's "using students and the department of education as a crutch for its political agenda."
UnifiEd is a four-year-old organization created to support public education and just created the plan to integrate schools in Hamilton County.
"This is not an organization pushing for better education in Hamilton County," Boyd said.
"It's an organization pushing to change the profile of Hamilton County, our way of life and the way we continue to do good work in this county."
Instead, commissioner Boyd focused on a recent report that praised the success of county schools. It highlighted 15 schools that have graduation rates of higher than 78 percent.
Boyd said the APEX project praises some New York City officials who came to Chattanooga to help orchestrate the study process.
"Are there good things in it? Yes," he said.
"They promote community schools but at the same time, they promote programs to defeat and destroy community schools. You can't have both people.:
The commissioner said a survey that appeared in the report showed 30 percent of responders were under 18 years old and 40 percent have a high school degree or less.
Thurman and Smith's main concern with the proposal was busing.
They believe it will add millions of dollars in transportation costs and destroy what they call neighborhood schools.