|Isn't it ironic? The state just lowered the sales tax
by a half cent and county officials are asking us to raise sales tax a
half cent. Of course in the name of education. It's for the children. It
never fails when officials want to raise taxes, it's always for the
children. Apparently we are suppose to hand over our hard earned money
just because someone says, "It's for the children." Well I'm sorry, it's
not for the children.
In the last five years, the Loudon County Board of Education spending
has increased by ten million dollars. Again, that's $10,000,000.00.
However the county system enrollment has increased by less than 200 in
the same time period. How is it possible to justify a two million dollar
per year increase?
Last year the Loudon County
Board Of Education spent nearly $9,000.00 on each of it's nearly 5000
students. This includes more than 450 children
who do not live in Loudon County and whose parents do not pay Loudon
County taxes. That's $4,000,000.00 to educate non resident children.
A little more than a year ago, the Loudon County Board Of Education
million dollars, nearly twice the asking price, for a parcel of land
that scarcely lends it's self for a school building. And on and on and
The state of Tennessee mandates the teacher student
ratio in all schools. This is to assure that class sizes are not so
large that children fail to receive adequate instructional time.
The teacher student ratio for kindergarten thru third grade is 20-25 to
The teacher student ratio for fourth thru sixth grade is 25-30 to 1.
The teacher student ratio for seventh thru twelfth is 30-35 to 1.
Using the lowest mandated ratios above, a close look at the nine schools
in the Loudon County system may reveal some surprising statistics.
Eaton Elementary enrollment in grades K-4 would
require a maximum of 35 teachers. There are currently 54 teachers on
Fort Loudon Middle School enrollment, grades 6-8 would require a maximum
of 17 teachers. There are currently 26 teachers on staff.
Greenback School enrollment in K-12 would require a maximum of 28
teachers. There are currently 53 teachers on staff.
Highland Park Elementary enrollment in K-4 would require a maximum of 21
teachers. There are currently 29 teachers on staff.
Loudon Elementary enrollment in K-5 would require a maximum of 24
teachers. There are currently 40 teachers on staff.
Loudon High School enrollment in 9-12 would require a maximum of 24
teachers. There are currently 51 teachers on staff.
North Middle School enrollment in 5-8 would require a maximum of 33
teachers. There are currently 51 teachers on staff.
Philadelphia School enrollment in K-8 would require a maximum of 23
teachers. There are currently 37 teachers on staff.
Steekee Elementary enrollment in K-5 would require a maximum of 12
teachers. There are currently 23 teachers on staff.
Central Office maintains 9 teachers.
Using the lowest state required ratios it would appear that the nine
schools are far over staffed by a total of 182 teachers. Given the
average Loudon County teacher pay is around $40,000.00, this would be an
annual cost overage of $7,280,000.00. This does not include the cost of
benefits for the extra teachers which would be another million dollars
per year. Certainly there are variables within these numbers that could
result in the need for more than the state required number of teachers
but it would be hard to imagine the need for 182 extra.
On top of that, there are:
113 Paraprofessionals (Teacher's Aids) $1,682,079.00
16 Secretaries $355,264.00
9 Nurses $176,360.00
9 Principals $549,835.00
7 Family Liaisons $173,065.00
4 Supervisors $277,109.00
4 Psychologists $180,440.00
1 Business Manager $43,841
1 Director $93,500.00
Anyone who has ever been in business can tell you that the cost of
buildings, materials and supplies is a drop in the bucket compared to
cost of employees. Employee cost can quickly get out of control if not
managed properly. This seems to be what has happened in the Loudon
County School System.
All the debate of late has been the alleged need for additional
buildings and expansions to existing buildings and where to find the
money to pay for the additions. Estimates range from 90 to 144 million
dollars. Each million dollars borrowed by the county costs the county
approximately $51,000.00 per year. The overages in teachers alone would
more than pay for a loan of 100 million dollars.
Every one wishes it were possible to provide the newest, nicest,
fanciest schools for the county with the lowest teacher to student ratio
possible. Unfortunately and realistically, the tax payers just can't
afford that. While the growth of the school system is minimal at best,
the BOE never cuts back or reduces costs but consistently spends more
and more on staff and other questionable expenditures.
More taxes will not solve the Loudon County Board Of Education's money
problems any more than more food would solve the fat man's problem. The
BOE must learn to curb their incredible money appetite.
You see, it's not about the children. It's about money for the grown ups
who are minding the children.
I've said it many times before, the only way you stop
government from spending money is to stop giving them money