Rolls Royce School

I've been in the bowels of local politics for quit a while now. I've heard a lot of crude things said at meetings by both citizens and elected officials. I've heard folks be just down right mean to one another.  But last Monday I think I heard about the most hateful, condescending thing I've ever heard.

At the commission meeting workshop to discuss the upcoming budget and a possible property tax increase for the school building program, as usual, a time was granted at the beginning of the meeting for citizen comment. There were the usual commenter's some in support of the building program and some in opposition. But there was one new face in the crowd. He identified himself as H. D Manhart, a resident of Loudon County. A quick check of local tax and voting records shows only one H. (Harrison) D. Manhart in Loudon County, a resident of Tellico Village.

Mr. Manhart was clearly in opposition of the school building program and the property tax needed to fund it and gave a litany of facts and figures to support his position. But for his final summation he stated to the commissioners, "what you're doing here is building a Rolls Royce school in a GM community." Let that sink in for a minute.

Essentially what Mr. Manhart was saying was that the school board and commission were wanting to build a new school for the students in Greenback that was far too nice for such lowly folks. Maybe he was right. After all we do plan to have indoor plumbing, electricity, doors and even real floors now that so many of us have started wearing shoes. The new school will even have windows, heat and air conditioning. Yes, that's what I'd call a real Rolls Royce of school buildings. After all, we heard other anti's remind us that they went to school in mud huts with thatched roofs and dirt floors. So by those standards I guess the new Greenback school is overbuilt.

The reality is, the new Greenback school and the new middle school in Loudon are basic brick and mortar structures that will meet all the requirements for a safe, comfortable facility where kids can be educated. Nothing fancy about either one of them. This was one of the requirements the board had when we entered into this process. 

The saddest part of this story for me is that I don't think Mr. Manhart was really trying to be rude or mean with his statement. I think he was just actually conveying the way he really feels and thinks of other members of our county. Hopefully, he is in a small minority.

It might be noteworthy to remind Mr. Manhart that there are far more retired GM, General Motors, employees living in Tellico Village than any other part of the county.