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Friday, July 25, 2014

A Wheel Tax - For or Against?

Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2012, at 5:46 PM

The discussion of a wheel tax has been a hot topic for the past few days and I have heard support and opposition of such a tax. I know our teachers have a hard job and the average salary for Bedford County teachers is below that of surrounding counties. Also anyone who takes a drive in any direction will quickly agree that we have many miles of roads that are in dire need of repair.

I'm just not sure if a wheel tax is the best answer. Seems we are bombarded with taxes as it is and the ones that are in place seem to be continually on the rise. Some people struggle to put gas in their car to make it to work each week and the $24 it cost now to renew tags is sometimes hard to come by. Adding $25-$30 to the renewal is only adding to their burden, and if a wheel tax is put in place how soon before there is talk of raising it because more money is needed? Ask anyone that lives a county with a wheel tax how many times it has been raised in a short period of time since first being implemented.

One point that has been made is that a wheel tax will spread the burden and not cause a rise in property taxes but who can say that if and when a wheel tax is in place that talk to raise property taxes would not take place shortly after?

I'd like to know what all of you think, please share your thoughts on this matter.


Comments
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im glad this discussion was brought up. 1st somebody needs to explain what the wheel tax is for. i have questions about it.

1. who is making the wheel tax..city or county?

2 what exactly is the wheel tax for? i assume its to fix roads.

3. why is there talk of part of the funds going to schools and the roads?

4. our taxes are already paying or these things right? aint this called double dipping if they get a wheel tax in?

5.dont the school system belong to the county and it is funded by the county and state right?

i do agree that people cannot afford more taxation. seniors living on 900 dollars a month are already having tuff times.

and my best point to make is that the city and county cry that they dont have no money...why dont they get jobs here to support the citizens and the city and county revenue?

im not against kids and education and we sure need some roads fixed here, but they better get a handle on this and get it right before they vote it in.

-- Posted by kyhhfan1 on Tue, Sep 11, 2012, at 6:42 PM

People can only take so much right now. Prices of groceries, gas, EVERYTHING has gone up drasticly. I am against the wheel tax. There are a LOT of poor people in this country that just cant take this anymore.

-- Posted by AmericanWoman on Tue, Sep 11, 2012, at 7:00 PM

I think most of the resistance will be due to folks not trusting that their money is well spent.`

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Sep 11, 2012, at 10:29 PM

I am against the wheel tax sticker as well. We pay enough tax in this county that should take care of what needs to be done. The county and city, need to tighten their belts and learn how to budget like normal people have to do. Instead of wasting money on parades and a charger for electric cars. As mentioned above, they need to work on getting jobs and tourism here. Sure we have the horse show. But the horse show is a has been. It no longer draws the crowds that it used to since all of the negative light.

I personally think that the bi-way was a total waste of money. That money could've gone to fix roads. We do not live in a lavish time. Everyone is scraping to get by and tacking on more money for people having to dish out, is just bad for the county.

-- Posted by -Beth- on Tue, Sep 11, 2012, at 11:38 PM

Here's a novel idea...cut spending!

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Tue, Sep 11, 2012, at 11:46 PM

NO NEW TAXES!!

-- Posted by Liveforlight on Wed, Sep 12, 2012, at 5:56 AM

What about Rodney's comment that "One point that has been made is that a wheel tax will spread the burden"? Would this be a way to get more folks who don't pay city, or county taxes because they rent?

I know landlords still pay taxes because they own the property, and may even pay more if it is deemed a commercial operation but when 2-3 families stay in the same home, are they contributing to the tax base or are they a burden?

Don't we still educate their families, don't they enjoy the same benefits we all do for our taxes? How do we get them to "share" the expense? A renter's tax based on occupancy? A wheel tax based on the cars they own?

Federal taxes don't reach many of these folks, but we pay for them anyway. Granted, we should curb Federal growth too, but I would rather pay tax locally, where I can watch it much closer, than default to State and Federal for assistance, where I do not trust their fiscal control at all.

Just a thought. :-)

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Sep 12, 2012, at 6:45 AM

Lincoln County brought in a wheel tax back in the 70's to build a new high school and said they would take it off after they paid that off. Forty years later it is still on there

-- Posted by pokesalad on Wed, Sep 12, 2012, at 6:57 AM

Before imposing any more taxes on anyone, we should take a long look at the waste in the city and county. I believe that a panel of "real" people - actual citizens - should be allowed to take a look at all of the profit/loss statements, balance sheets, etc.

What about the decisions made by our leaders? The Depot Street debacle - how much money was wasted on that? What about the city and county governments? How much waste is there in paying two different governments to run when we could have a metropolitan government?

Things to think about.......

-- Posted by wildwoman on Wed, Sep 12, 2012, at 7:48 AM

All you folks need to remember that all meetings are open to the public.That everything that goes on in the city or county is public record and anyone can request minutes,budgets,etc.Get involved and watch spending, and spending request go down.Run for a public office and make the difference.Go to these meetings and fill the room up.Fight tax increases tooth and nail.Most of all quit whining and do something about it!!!!

-- Posted by mytaxesaremine on Wed, Sep 12, 2012, at 8:44 AM

one way the county could save some money is to stop running all those school buses on the days that student for 2 hours that would save alot of fuel

-- Posted by mll37160 on Wed, Sep 12, 2012, at 10:38 AM

I am not for a wheel tax for schools seems like everyday the schools want money for something.

It doesn't matter what they get they want more.

If it is approved it should be a 50/50 split with Highway Department.

-- Posted by roadrunner on Wed, Sep 12, 2012, at 10:53 AM

I'm not against the idea of a wheel tax per se, it is a much more fair tax than a property tax. I'm just against a wheel tax for the schools. Yes, their salaries are less than surrounding counties...I looked at the states Webb site to confirm it. But, it's only $100 less. They are all about the same thing, within $100 DOLLARS of each other. This whole thing makes me feel manipulated by the schools Director. I don't trust him anymore.

Look at the numbers...our school administration salaries are in the TOP 1/3 across the state. Mr. Butrums salary...$113,000 +...his assistant's salary...$90,000 +, they rank among the very TOP salaries in the state.

I think Mr. Butrum could have easily gave our TEACHERS...you know...the ones who are actually working,..their $100 DOLLARS and brought them up to our surrounding counties standards if he'd only distributed that $90,000 DOLLARS he hired his assistant with to everyone. Administration is doing great. They make big bucks from us and spend it all in Rutherford County.

I don't trust any number he delivers at this point. If the numbers don't work, he just makes up something. Based upon that response to the TG today, he obviously thinks the Commission members are ignorant. They are not ignorant, they have just lost all confidence in his ability to manage or be truthful.

-- Posted by frankjohns on Wed, Sep 12, 2012, at 6:39 PM

Well he is not truthful to the T-G if you read his text.It now says that the school board unanimously passed the amendment as well as as the finance committee,when in fact I heard he did not have a 100% unanimous vote on the school board and the paper said that the finance committee did not give a recommendation.One text two untruths.Giving wrong numbers on attendance to bring in more people from Murfreesboro I guess.Hey Ray the truth will set you free!!!!!!Be honest.We are not HAYSEEDS in Bedford County.That ring a bell?

-- Posted by mytaxesaremine on Wed, Sep 12, 2012, at 7:29 PM

Short and simple fact---Anytime you can spread the tax burden to reach more people it becomes more of a Fair Tax. Therefore, if it goes to a voter referendum I will vote for a wheel tax.

-- Posted by justwanaknow on Wed, Sep 12, 2012, at 8:34 PM

Try taking the food stamp money for the children who get FREE breakfast and free lunches at school. Isn't that double dipping? We have paid for them to eat once, do we need to pay again? Bet that would balance the school budget. The money spend on the "by pass to no where" could of been spent better too.

Never, never vote in a wheel tax... It NEVER goes away.

-- Posted by Union on Wed, Sep 12, 2012, at 9:44 PM

justwanaknow- You say spreading a tax reaches more people and becomes a fair tax. That may be true in a sense but it depends on what type of tax you are spreading. Yes a wheel tax will affect more people than a property tax for example but a wheel tax will add to the taxes paid by those that already pay property taxes so those people end up paying more in the end, especially when property taxes get raised,is that still fair? The big selling point that has been used for the wheel tax is they want much of it to be spent on schools and that many people who rent and therefore do not pay property taxes are not paying their share so to speak. What about people that don't have a car but yet have children enrolled in school? Is the answer to impose some sort of tax on these people as well? There are so many taxes in place now that are paid by different groups and different incomes brackets. The only tax that would be close to being defined a fair tax would be the sales tax because it is the same rate for everyone and is paid by everyone but we already have one of the highest sales taxes in the region. My point is that anytime a new tax is imposed it never goes away and once it is in place it is easily and always increased. There are several counties that have a wheel tax in place that was passed on the notion that the money would be used to help build news schools and then the tax would be removed once paying for the school was completed. Rutherford county is an example they passed a $10 wheel taxed based on this in the 1970's and it is still in place today and is around $70.

-- Posted by Rodney Simmons on Thu, Sep 13, 2012, at 6:55 AM

So, a suggested solution is.....?

Add a tax anywhere and someone is not going to be happy. Take away of project and someone will not be happy.

So what will carry the most support? The others of us who do not approve will just have to accept majority rule. That could be me, but taking no action will not benefit any of us.

Are the minutes and budgets available through the internet? Either a website or an e-mailed report? My reason for asking is that I rarely have time to attend these meetings and those that I attend are painfully dull. ( my hats off to attendants for being able to handle it)

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Sep 13, 2012, at 9:10 AM

The only way that it would be able to be a fair tax, is if it the tax was added to the sales tax. Because no matter who you are, you are going to have to pay sales tax sometime. I do not like the idea of it being added to my tags and I do not like the idea of all of majority of it going toward schools.

As for monitoring the minutes of the council ~> http://shelbyvilletn.org/cityminutes.htm

-- Posted by -Beth- on Thu, Sep 13, 2012, at 10:33 AM

The suggested solution is to not raise taxes at all because we dont need new money.

The teachers union has become too powerful. 30 years ago, our teachers were grossly underpaid. Alot of progress has been made with teachers salaries and benefits over the years and much of the progress due to the efforts by teachers unions.

Now, our teachers are doing much better. They are making a higher than average salary and have enormous benefits and opportunities to make extra money. They are among our highest paid salaried workers in our community.

People are getting wise to the push by teachers unions for a money grab well beyond what is reasonable. They feel the power of thier numbers and keep pushing for more and more.

But people are growing tired of what's happening and they are beginning to lose faith in the education system itself becuase we have continued to financially support schools and they have continued to fail us with statistics and outcomes falling short of even some third-world countries. We are ranked something like 16th in the world now. We have more money than any other country in the world but our education system is 16th.

Just look at what is happening in Chicago. Those teachers represent one of the worst school districts in the U.S., make higher wages than most, and keep fighting for unreasonable advances in pay.

Where is the logic in that? The problem is that they wield so much power, that they have become tyranical in their thinking and thier tactics. They think they can force the taxpayers to give them whatever they want, regardless of how logical their expectations are.

Bottom line, families and goverment have made cut after cut to become lean enough to survive in this struggling economy and the schools have yet to make the first cut. They have got increases every year when everyone else is making adjustments and doing without raises.

They havn't been held accountable so of course they havn't learned how to survive with less. It may be painful, but not any more painful that the rest of us have experienced. The reason, because leaders are intimidated by the power of their numbers.

Now, Mr. Butrum has been caught so many times manipulating and being excessive that our leaders have decided to stand their ground and refuse to accept what he is saying. Good for them.

Unions have thier place, they do some good but they also do alot of harm. When they use their powers to support what is fair for their members, they do alot of good. When they use their power for the sake of using power, they not only lose some of that power, they also do harm to their members and the community.

Mr. Butrum has abused that power and tried to bully his agenda, now the whole system is paying the price. Narcissism alone can be controled by a diligent school board. But narcissism combined with dishonesty may be a combination doomed for failure.

I sincerely hope he learns somthing from the experience and brings himself back down to earth. Then perhaps we can all gain from his genius. But if he doesn't, we all suffer from his ignorance.

-- Posted by frankjohns on Thu, Sep 13, 2012, at 10:36 AM

I am not sure what the answer is to help pay for our schools. I do know that we rank second to last in the state on how much we spend on our children's education. I also know that teachers go above and beyond what they have to do for our students. How many of us would stay after our regular work hours and on the weekend without pay? Im pretty sure that no one reading this would want to work for free. I don't care how much they make...if you break it down by the COUNTLESS hours that the teachers work.....working on classrooms, preparing for classes, helping students when they need it, leading extracurricular actvities for our children...Im sure our teachers make less than minimum wage. If 100% of the wheel tax is going to go to help our schools...then I am all for it. I know some of you are going to disagree with my opinion...however before you decide to yell at me just remember this is MY OPINION!!!

-- Posted by momofhannah on Thu, Sep 13, 2012, at 12:23 PM

momofhannah, teachers now what they are going to get paid before signing on to become a teacher. As for all of the "extra" work that they do when not in the classroom - that is part of a salary. They do not get paid by the hour, but have a set salary. Ask many supervisors who get paid by salary, and they will tell you that they work weekends, after hours, etc without any overtime pay.

I don't like the idea of the money going directly to the schools simply because the school board here does not care about this county. The schools do not care about teaching the students here. It is all about money. And simply how much money the county can make off of the students and parents of the public kids.

If the schools are hurting that bad for money, then they need to stop purchasing iPads and other non-essential equipment. My children do not attend public schools, and I am frankly tired of supporting a system that does not want anything to do with me since I home educate my children.

-- Posted by -Beth- on Thu, Sep 13, 2012, at 2:28 PM

These are exactly the kinds of statistics that we are being spoon fed that really do not paint an accurate picture of our reality.

First, we are not second to the last. I just found the report, there are six school districts in Tennessee that are spending less per pupil than us. That's not significant, but it is certainly not the worst. We spend $5,627.00 per student and our State's average is $7,897.00 per pupil.

Another fact: Bedford County school districts balance sheet shows a deficit of $11,079.00 per pupil for school debt. The state average is much lower, $8,288.00 per pupil and the national average is $9,000.00 per pupil. You see, we have much more debt than our neighbors and it is important that we factor in what prohibits us from being as extravagant as our neighboring counties.

Another fact: Even though we are spending less than the state's average per pupil, we are actually spending a higher percentage of our county's budget per pupil than many of our surrounding counties.

Bedford ranks at 19.1% statewide. That means that 19.1 percent of all school districts in our state are recieving the same or less of their county governments total budgets on schools.

Another fact: While we are officially ranked among the lowest, our spending per pupil has increased annually at a much higher rate than the national average. So while we may now be in the lower numbers, we are beginning to catch up at a higher rate than pretty much anyone else.

Lastly, spending money has proven to not necessarily correlate with how well our students perform academically.

New York State ranks number 1 in spending per pupil at $18,126.00 per student. Their graduation rate is 72 percent. The state has one of the highest property tax rates in the country. They have doubled their per-student spending over the past decade and school districts pay the most lucrative teacher salaries and benefits in the country. Statistics report that the vast majority of New York public school students are not prepared for college.

Washington D.C. spends $16,408.00 per pupil. Their graduation rate is a mere 43%. They are ranked second in the country for per pupil spending but their graduation rates are among the worst.

Tennessee ranks 47th Nationwide. We spend $7,897.00 per pupil and our graduation rate is 77% which is higher than New York by 5%. We enjoy the highest graduation rate among the nation's lowest-funded schools.

Our teachers do not work for free. They are paid very well for working a 10 month job. Plus their benefits and insurance package is among the best available. What other salaried workers are averageing the mid-forty thousand dollar range in Bedford County?

By the time the State averages out their benefits package, the average teacher in TN making $47k is boosted to the mid 60k range for salary and benefits. That's just average. There are teachers right here in Bedford County making much more than the average salary. If you don't believe me, you can ask for a copy yourself. It's a public record.

Teachers can educate their children at State colleges at no cost, and they get salary supplements for every new assignment for extracurricular and sporting activities that they decide to take on. If they work over those 10 months, they are paid extra wages based on their hourly wage.

I don't know about you guys, but the last time I saw what minimum wages were, it didnt look anything like those numbers.

Bottom line, we can vote however we like. I have no problem with other people having opinions. But at least check out the facts before making your choices. These things we are being told are either not true or are given to us without other important facts which open the scope of the argument in a more accurate light.

I love teachers, I think they are awesome and I wish we could pay them 100k per year. I could buy lots of cool toys with 100k. But, fair raises for teachers could easily be provided if our schools administration just thought as much of teachers as it does school administrators.

While teachers have averaged just $2k in raises during the past few years, admin have averaged almost 9k in raises during the same time period. Other county employees got nothing.

Let's force the school administrators to be fair with everyone and spread the joy instead of hording the money for themselves. Trust me, they are getting funded, they are just not managing those funds fairly. That is not a fault of the Commissioners, those decisions lie squarely on the shoulders of Mr. Butrum.

-- Posted by frankjohns on Thu, Sep 13, 2012, at 2:58 PM

This is in response to frankjohns

Teachers do not get to educate there children for free at state colleges. They do get a 25% discount.

Also while there are stipends for some extracurricular activities and sports most educators do those without any additional pay. Most educators work well beyond the 10 month period (working on lesson plans, continuing education, inservices and setting up their classrooms each year) and as salaried employees do not get compensated for it. I know many dedicated teachers that work 12 hours a day and weekends to create the best learning environment for the children of Bedford County.

-- Posted by puddinlover on Thu, Sep 13, 2012, at 3:39 PM

The point of my post was never to argue the value of a teacher. I KNOW the value of the teachers that have been in my life, the teachers that have helped educate my child and teachers that I am friends with. I am not going to fight out the merits for or against a wheel tax. My point was that unless actions are taken the only ones we are hurting are our children. Do I want to pay more in taxes? No. Do I want my child to have the best possible education that she can have? YES!

-- Posted by momofhannah on Thu, Sep 13, 2012, at 4:10 PM

I agree with " mom", I'm not arguing a teachers value either. I'm only arguing the state of affairs as it has been presented to us which has been fraught with exaggerations. We do not need a teacher tax.

We may need a sheriff tax after this crazy law suit is over but definitely not a teacher tax. My biggest fear is that we pass a $20 wheel tax, then the sheriff has to pay 10 million bucks to his staff over his idiotic law suit then they raise the tax to $50 bucks to pay for that.

Once it starts, where will it stop? Our school budget is more than 50 Million dollars. This is not a wealthy county. Let's tighten our belts and get through this economic crisis which may get worse and look for ways to be more efficient.

I could spend another hour writing about the gross inefficiencies of the schools but I'll save that for another discussion. We all know we have them, we just don't like giving something back we already have in our pocket whether we need it or not.

Let's stand up for what's right like our commissioners are doing. Let's support them when they are doing good things.

-- Posted by frankjohns on Thu, Sep 13, 2012, at 4:29 PM

Everyone is discussing a wheel tax. I myself am against a wheel tax. Like other people have said, it doesn't matter what kind of tax you have you can bet it will never go away and it will keep going up.

In some of my research, it appears that once a wheel tax has been passed in other counties, emissions testing is next thing to come. If you've never had to pass an emissions test, consider yourself lucky. More times then not, it is cheaper to buy a newer vehicle then it is to fix one that has failed a test.

Beth, I think your comment, "...because the school board here does not care about this county. The schools do not care about teaching the students here. It is all about money." is harsh. You stated that your children do not attend public schools, therefore how much do you really know about the teachers? How many open meetings have you been to and listened to what the school board and the county commissioners are saying?

I do not have children in the county school anymore. My child did attend K-12 in Bedford Co. For the most part all the teachers were very dedicated teachers. I butted heads with more of the administrators then teachers. Most people become teachers because they want to educate children & it is a passion. I'm proud to say that my child will be graduating college soon, and has done very well. I know I wasn't the educator, therefore I have to give the credit to Bedford Co. teachers and my child. It takes both sides, a teacher has to want to teach but the student has to want to study & apply themselves too.

My generation was taught not to spend what you don't have. Thanks to Mr. Moe Johnson, I was taught in school how to budget and manage money. I was also taught, just because you have it doesn't mean you have to spend it, that there would be a rainy day coming. I can remember being told as a teenage, that I was old enough that my wants wouldn't hurt me. I think sometimes people confuse their needs & their wants.

If our school system can't manage a budget, then how do they expect these children to ever know how to manage money? Children are seeing adults spend money they don't have and then ask or try to force someone else to give them more to do the same thing with. Not only is the OVER spending an injustice to me and every other tax payer, it is an injustice to the children watching.

Maybe Mr. Butrum making $113m + bonus's + mileage and his assistant, making $90m should be paid what they are worth and not what they think they are worth. Neither of these two people are in the class room, hands on making a difference in a Childs life. Sometimes you get to the point were there are too many chiefs & not enough Indians. I think this is one of those situations. Mr. Gray made $95m a year and didn't have an assistant. This is an increase in the school budget of $108m just for two people to oversee the people doing the real work. If ask, most people will tell you they aren't being paid what they think they are worth.

Now, as far as renters not paying property taxes

I am a landlord and I can tell you that the taxes & insurance cost for the rental property are both figured in the rent. The renter may not write the check to the city or county, but they do pay taxes.

I want to personally thank the participating school board members and commissioners for being present at these meetings and for looking out for the citizens of Bedford Co. I also want to thank Mr. Eugene Ray for all his service over the years and for the excellent job he has done.

-- Posted by tipster4 on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 2:57 AM

Beth, thanks for the link to the city minutes. The following questions are not directed to you but anyone who might know:

Are there recordings to allow us to hear discussion about why certain things were passed or not passed?

There seems to be a two month lag in reports, which means things are too old to do much. Is there a listing of the agenda for upcoming meetings?

Does the same thing exist for County?

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 8:22 AM
John I. Carney
The county commission meetings are broadcast live on the radio and tape-delayed on cable television, but the problem is, as you may know, that a lot of the preliminary discussion takes place in committee. The only recordings of those committee meetings are the very low-tech, informal recordings made by whomever writes up the minutes, and I don't believe they're posted anywhere on the county web site.

Three of the four standing committees meet on the same night -- the rules committee, the law enforcement committee and the courthouse and county property committee meet, in that order, on the third Tuesday of each month in the third floor courtroom at the county courthouse. The rules committee meeting starts at 5 p.m., and the other two meetings follow in order, each meeting starting as soon as the previous meeting adjourns.

The fourth committee, the financial management committee, meets at 4:15 on the fourth Tuesday of each month at Bedford County Business Complex (the former Medical Arts Building on Dover Street, behind the old hospital).

What I find amusing is that the salaries of both the teachers and principals are below state average while the director of schools salary is ranked above the state average. It is sad that we place more importance on someone that has limited or no interaction than the ones who directly teach and influence students. With that being said, I saw that the average teacher in Bedford County makes around $42k which doesn't seem that bad . . . I mean all of us want to make more money but this salary seems more than enough to make a decent living on and I know plenty of people who performing more physically demanding jobs that make far less than this.

In regards to the wheel tax and fair taxation when it comes to people who rent . . . most people who pay rental fees are paying taxes but in a less direct way. Most rental companies and individuals are most likely including a proportion of the property tax they are paying in the rental fee they charge customers so renters are paying their share of property taxes but just don't directly pay it to the county or city. I mean if you want to be fair, why should I have to pay more taxes for schools when I have no children just so the next family who has five children attending reap the benefits? There are many ways we could look at this but government first needs to learn how to spend the money they are currently receiving more wisely and efficiently.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 11:06 AM

It is enough to make a decent living on a 40 hour work week but most of the teachers work far more than 40 hours with no extra pay. Not to mention their insurance is outrageous. These are not some idiots that are hired off the street they are professionals with college degrees that have to put up with tons of state and federal regs..

From the chart posted by the t-g it looks like it is much more than $100 difference in pay scale than in the surrounding counties to me..

Just know for a fact folks, you get what you pay for why would a good teacher stay in a low paying county and have to use his/her own money to purchase the things they need for the classroom when they can go to a nearby county which pays more salary, pays more per student towards their education, has aides helping them so their days aren't as long and cheaper insurance... Hmmm sounds like a no brainer to me but I'm just sayin..

So when your Johnnie or Suzy still can't read by the time they hit High School, don't whine it was the teachers fault... just remember you got what you paid for!!!

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 12:22 PM

Dianatn, we can all go to other larger counties and get higher pay. Everyone reading this who lives and works in Shelbyville has the same opportunities to seek employment outside our own county to get a higher compensation package.

But with such a move comes the added expenses of travel, less time at home, the stress of driving in traffic for long distances, wear and tear on our vehicles, higher car insurance for some, etc.

We get it, you can get better pay somewhere else. But, your working here and not having to contend with all of those things I just mentioned. Perhaps for the same reasons the rest of us are doing the same.

Of the surrounding counties and pay discrepancies, one of us is going to have to be the lowest. It turns out that Giles is the lowest by $100. If they want to increase their teachers pay by $200, then we will be the lowest. Will we then have to pony up more just so we wont be the lowest and force Giles to keep raising?

It's a rediculous argument over pennies. If you think driving to Murfreesboro every day is worth the extra $3,400 per year, go for it. My guess is that you will spend more on fuel, insurance, wear and tear on you car and stress related medical expenses than you could possibly gain. If not, then you would already be working there.

Lincoln County pays $300 more than us, why not navigate that crooked road everyday and spend an hour less time at home everyday for that big pay raise?

The point is, just like I first said, our pay is not as gloom and doom as was represented by your new schools director. And, our schools debt is higher than average and our county commits a much higher than average part of its annual budget to schools than most other TN counties.

Those are important factors to consider. Tipster is absolutley correct, as a teacher, you could have easily had your salaries corrected to match those of other counties had your schools director not increased the salaries of his administrative staff so flagrantly.

When you want more money, ask him why he mis-managed the funds, not why we don't want our taxes increased.

-- Posted by frankjohns on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 2:04 PM

One other thing, why did Mr. Butrum create a new position this year for a person whose sole job is to change the light bulbs in projectors? Why did he purchase business cards for janitors, maintenance personnel and mechanics? Must I go on?

Go to the school board meetings and just see for yourself some of the things this guy is able to justify. I promise, if it doesn't make you mad, it will at least be entertaining.

So tell me again how much more of my money you need Mr. Butrum...

-- Posted by frankjohns on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 2:10 PM

Mr Johns

Nobody wants higher taxes heck I am about taxed and insured to death anyway but education is the most important factor that our taxes are spent on.. and I truly believe you are intelligent enough to see that.

The children who sit in these classes are our future doctors, lawyers, scientist, writers and yes, even our nation's leaders. We all went to school, every last one of us and we were given the best opportunities possible. I just believe the children of Bedford County deserve those same opportunities. Giving them the best education we can is our responsibility not because you have children in school or don't but because it was given to you by the tax payers of this county.

Yes it cost more these days than it did "back in the day" but what don't cost more?

I am certainly not saying there is no waste by the school board but there is not one government entity that you can name that isn't wasteful with your tax money. The sad part of all this is the children suffer when schools aren't properly funded not the people wasting funds.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 2:34 PM

And BTW Mr Johns it really isn't all about increasing teacher pay. Having the tools and materials needed to teach is very important, wouldn't you say?

Do you know that out of 137 counties in Tennessee Bedford County ranks 130 in how much is spent per child for education.

Here's you a link just so you know I don't make this stuff up :)

http://www.homesurfer.com/schoolreports/...

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 3:14 PM

There are only 95 counties in the State of Tennessee.

-- Posted by frankjohns on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 3:19 PM

Yes I know Mr Johns but some have city and county schools both in the same town. They are listed separate because they have different budgets.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 3:22 PM

Good points, frankjohns.

No rational person would compare a city district - which generally has a higher rate of taxation - with the rural, and often poorer, county ones. When those salaries are kicked out of the mix, salaries are fairly in line. A thousand dollars or two makes little difference over the course of the year, especially after taxes.

Truthfully, I am not against giving teachers raises, I am against raising taxes to do so. I am against levying a new on those who already pay high property taxes(regardless if they have kids in school) and/or those parents who already pay room fees and participate in fundraisers.

The problem is the amount of povery in Bedford Co and the suspectedly high number of those NOT paying into the system. Families on fee waiver (I'm guessing free lunch is federally subsidized, I'm guessing room fees are not) or multi-family households which are not paying proportionally fair property taxes. The parents of those children who cost the system more to educate are not paying proportionally. Sadly,, most aren't paying anything at all.

If there is a school budget shortage, I have to wonder why other, more user generated fees are not considered. If everyone in the county can be assessed a wheel tax, then why in heaven's name can't each child be assessed a matriculation fee upon enetering kindergarten, middle school, and high school? Why not a bus fee? Or a fee for those that require special aid? The revenue generated here, releases other funding in the general school budget for salaries, building funds, etc.

The main concern I see here is - if I am understanding the tax breakdown correctly - that the county claims that 2/3 of the proposed wheel tax is going to school budget, with most of that going toward teacher salaries. Clearly, this is a rough economy - unemployment is high and as is the number of individuals living in poverty. Is it reasonable to suggest that those barely scraping by be on the hook for someone else's raise?

Another concern is that if the tax is levied, is it enough? If, indeed, most school allotted money goes to raise, how ling will it be before the system is begging for money for buildings, upkeep, buses, etc. I may have missed a thing or two, but I don't believe that this has been addressed by the board or commission.

And, btw, why in the dickens was Butrum given an assistant that makes 80% of his salary?

-- Posted by malamutemom on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 3:27 PM

And I also offer that giving our children the best education doesn't have to be expensive.

PArents that home school and many private schools don't have the extra funds and they seem to perform pretty well. Yes, there is more individual attention, but a little more parental involvement just might compensate.

-- Posted by malamutemom on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 3:31 PM

Yes, in a perfect world all children would be educated by their stay at home Mom.

Unfortunately this is not a perfect world.

Not all parents have the "know how" to teach much less the time... as you said Bedford County is a poverty stricken county. Most households have "both" parents working to make ends meet. And lets not forget about the 1000's of single parent households where the one parent must work to live.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 3:43 PM

No, it would NOT be a perfect world if kids were educated by their stay-at-home mom. There is an enormous value to the 'school'experience, but my point remains that much can be accomplished without spending enormous sums of money.

I can't generate any sympathy for the parent who can't find just a small amount of time to participate in their child's education. Nor can I generate much more symapthy for those who choose to have children, that can't contribute to their basic needs. It's a well-known fact that children cost 2 arms and 2 legs to raise - if you can't pay their basic fees, don't have them.

-- Posted by malamutemom on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 3:56 PM

I get it Diana, I promise I do. I appreciate your service to our community and my own child as a teacher. I am sure you are a committed, intelligent and inspiring example of education at its best.

But they are not asking for money to buy tools and materials. They are asking for significant amounts of tax dollars to be generated to fix an insignificant formula that could easily be fixed by the elimination of waste. Waste which we ALL agree is waste.

Most of us are also saying repeadedly that we have watched our school administration abuse the available funds for the sole benefit of themselves and for wasteful projects and schemes which reflect very poorly on both thier judgement and on thier ability to publicly announce that they "only want what's best for our children".

What they obviously want is what's best for thier wallet's.

I am not talking about you or teachers in general, I am talking about your leaders. I want you to make all the money you can make as long as we can afford it and as long as there are objective reasons to do so.

I hope that you are not offended that I am speaking my mind. It's not like I am writing anything that is untruthful, I am speaking the truth, you just don't like what you are reading because you believe that it may negatively affect your chance at getting a pay raise. If you were writing about my ability to get a pay raise, I would be trying my best to counter you too.

The other county and city departments are not having controversal talks over taking more of my money. Mr. Butrum is; that is why we are having this discusion. If we were taking about other departments and offices, I promise, I would be throwing out the same kind of wastefull accusations to keep a tax increase from being passed when they havn't even begun to trim any fat.

When Mr. Butrum demonstrates that he is serious about trimming the fat from his budget, getting his expenses under control, cutting waste where it is hopelessly evident...then still objectively demmonstrates a need for more money with truthful and honest debate, then I will be all for it because I do recognize the importance of a great education and I do appreciate good teachers.

I think everyone who has posted on this blog appreciates what you are doing and recognizes your value to our community. We just don't think that raising taxes is the most prudent way to accomplish your goal.

Schools are administered by a Board, not by the County chain of command. Therefore, they decide how thier budgets are to be spent, not the Commission. The Director is the accountable person who analyzes the budget figures and allocates those funds with permission of the board.

Therefore, the county has little or no control over how schools are managed. With a weak, superficial or complicit board, we have no accountablility whatsoever. The board currently has too many alliances. It's kinda like the show "Survivor", everyone sort of makes alliances for thier own survival. Very few of them are questioning anything as they are afraid to upset those alliances and thus lose power.

Does that sound like good government to anyone? It sounds juvenile to me but that is what we are electing becuase the average voter doesn't take those school board electinos as serious as they should. If everyone understood that schools are costing us more than 50 milliion dollars every year then perhaps they would pay better attention.

I just want to close today with makeing it crystal clear that I love teachers. I want our teachers to be the best paid teachers in the state. I just believe that the money is there to accomplish that without raising taxes. It just happens to be allocated for people who have no job descriptions and people who change light bulbs and crazy expenditures like business cards for janitors.

He is authorizing China trips with money he can't legally obligate for those things and isn't getting authorization from the board. He hires people without having those salaries budgeted. He is spending money that we are not collecting.

I honestly feel that if you help to get your out-of-control leader in check, you will stand a much better chance of seeing the benefits for teachers increase. We just need to raise our voices and express our opinions about what he is doing wrong. Then, perhaps he can use that big ole brain of his and get a clue.

This commission has made its feelings known, they are not supporting anything he wants until he gets himself under control, stops bullying, stops blaming all of his failures on everyone else, stops lying and manipulating and stops seeing hiself as some sort of demi-God.

He believes the "D" in Dr. Butrum stands for Deity. But no one else is buying it.

-- Posted by frankjohns on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 4:01 PM

And I think it's very fair to say that 90% of those opposed to the wheel tax are not oppossed to teacher raises. Or funding to improve buildings. It's the lack of confidence that OTHER taxes won't be raised or the wheel tax increased in coming years that's created the buzz.

-- Posted by malamutemom on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 4:17 PM

I am not a teacher Mr Johns..

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 4:28 PM

If Mr. Butrum can't manage the current budget, then he won't be able to manage a larger one. Some people just do not and never will know how to manage money.

A millionaire lottery winner can be broke within months unless they know how to manage the million they won.

I'm also one of those single parents that makes much less then 42K. I do not receive any kind of assistance. Just work hard and budget my income and for the most part I have ALL my needs and most of my wants.

-- Posted by tipster4 on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 6:33 PM

I am not against education! So what I am about to say may offend some. I'm an outsider looking in. I have a special needs child, and since being in high school he is taught how to color! COLOR! but in Elementary he was taught how to read, write, math ect.. He is now a junior and let me tell ya, he can color with the best of them,,,,Yes, teachers have it hard, but who doesn't? The sheriff Dept in Bedford county has 3 deputies ,a shift, that patrol 475 square miles and they get paid a whopping 30-33k a year to risk their lives. Teachers make 42k....seems a bit low if you ask me. And to have a wheel tax just for someones salary?? Nope... I have read and read and read, New schools going up left and right, while roads in Bedford county turn to, nothing more than huge pot holes. I say if you vote for a wheel tax, spread the wealth, put it in roads, maybe a new jail, maybe help deputies with their salary, and whats left give it to teachers. Did you know county employee's insurance for family is nearly 900.00 a month? hmmm....yeah go ahead and vote for the salary's of the teachers to be higher. No one else deserves it.

-- Posted by Scarlett1968 on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 7:31 PM

Remember this.You can not buy an education.You can not make a child learn what they do not want to learn at no cost.If you think you are underpaid,find another job.If you are doing a job and are happy,money is not a factor.If you throw good money after bad you will go broke.Why can't we have a school without a multi million dollar gym,open windows for air turn off the AC.Why do we spend millions on computers and programs,and do work off computers?If you want to save money you can.If your spending someone else's money most of the time you don't care.What would the county save if they did away with sports and focused on education?

-- Posted by mytaxesaremine on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 8:10 PM

I have read most of these comments. I agree with some and some I don't but it's not my place to step in and judge what another thinks. I am not a teacher, however, I have many friends that are. A good teacher knows they are worth more than they make but don't we all know that? Whatever our jobs may be. We must remember the teachers did not start all of this mess, Dr. Butrum did. He found his prey and attacked. If you have tried to discuss anything with him concerning your child you would know this. I have faith that our educators that did a fine job before his arrival see the whole picture, they just can't say anything because they need their job and take pride in their job. It's sad it took a threat of a WHEEL TAX to get people involved. We all should have lined up when the NEPOTISM RULE started. Why didn't the school board see that years ago? The school board members have changed hands very little. IT DIDN'T INVOLVE OUR POCKETBOOKS!!! THAT'S WHY. The average principal's salaries will rise due to him bringing his own into Bedford County from surrounding counties and paying them more because of their education. Bedford County can't afford to pay anybody with more than a masters degree......BOTTOM LINE. These "DR'S" should be teaching college. Could they not get a job at one.

I HAVE A QUESTION: If a wheel tax is set for 20.00 for school and 10.00 for roads...If the school system accepts federal funding for lunches, title 1, the fresh fruit, pre-k program, etc...do the parents of the children that qualify for everything free get an exemption from the 20.00 part of the wheel tax? That's how federal funding works with everything else. Can somebody help me with this?

-- Posted by Brokeasajoke on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 8:45 PM

After doing a little research on my own rather than spitting "facts" that others have previously posted, I found that the county on pays approximately 20% of the per student expenditures. The state provides 62.5% of per student expenditures. (according to TEATEACHERS.org). That puts Bedford County at number 101 of 135 school systems (including city and county systems) in per student expenditures. Also if you will look at the salary data schedule you will see that the teacher salary average is calculated using the level of education and years of service and a formula rather than actual teachers' pay. Sounds like "we the county" are following the federal government's lead and getting the absolute best someone else will pay for...

-- Posted by Bamadoc72 on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 9:27 PM

This is sounding more and more like "I don't make that much money and neither should anybody else"

You want to make more money?? Go back to school that's what teachers have already done!!!

And money is always a factor in everybody's lives none of us care for the idea that the world turns around money but it does... Don't believe me try living without it.

And if you haven't noticed the entire workforce is based on computers. So I guess you would rather teachers push children to work for McDonald's? I guess it doesn't take much money to teach your children how to say "Would you like fries with that?" If that's what you want for your child.

How do expect your children or grand children to compete in the workforce with no education? How do you expect them to even get into college ?

It's funny how times have changed because I always wanted something better for my child. Something more than I ever had.. thus the reason she is a teacher. A job she has loved for 11 years. She has put her heart and soul into teaching your children. Trying to make the best of the children in Bedford County. She works long days and most weekends taking away from her own family to give her all to the children in her class. I am proud of her she is a wonderful teacher and she cares what happens to the children in Bedford County.

As I said before it isn't about the money it's about the appreciation for what teachers do the hours they spend trying to make a difference in every child in Bedford County. But as I see now the mindset here is teachers are mere babysitters for you. I guess with mindset like this it is no wonder Shelbyville has become a dried up little town with no real jobs because what kind of industry wants uneducated employees... And folks that's sad. It makes me ashamed for our teachers to cone here and read what you people think of them and how little you appreciate them.

.

You guys have a good night because I see I am preaching to the choir here...

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 9:28 PM

frankjohns; I find your posts to be quite informative and from what I have been able to learn, pretty much right on target. You are obviously well informed and have a grasp on the sitaution. It should be obvious to anyone with a little common sense that these issues can be resolved without adding additional burdens to the taxpayers. I appreciate you taking the time to post your comments and hope you will continue to do so.

Hopefully, the wheel tax will strike a spark that will encourage other common sense solutions and the in-depth involvement by the community that is needed to eliminate waste and fraud from our government both locally and nationally.

-- Posted by Liveforlight on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 9:38 PM

Dianatn, you are missing the point entirely with your final hyberbolic statements. MOST people DO value teachers and their contributions to the community. Most sympathize with the daily struggles of educators, and I know I have neither the patience nor the mouth control to do that type of work myself.

I will agree that the computer comment was just sad.

It doesn't appear that the educational system in Bedford Co is falling apart. Cascade was just recognized for some sort of achievement and many kids are going to college and succeeding in tough majors. But, unfortunately, they are NOT coming back after graduation. The jobs don't exist for them to so and I'm guessing many don't want to come back to a community with such a high poverty rate.

There are a few jobs for those with business degrees, teaching, or nursing degrees but almost none for those with science degrees, engineering degrees, or math degrees. So I think the jobs issue has less to do with the educational system ( after all Webb is here) and more to do with the lack of recruitment, the city's longtime obsession with the horse industry to the detriment of other job recruitment, quality of life, etc.

It then becomes a cycle, a cycle whose phases should be fairly obvious without me spelling out the not-so-pretty details.

Really, it sounds like YOU are more interested in the money and raises and less concerned with the overall picture of improving education.

-- Posted by malamutemom on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 10:17 PM

To malamutemom:

There are several things businesses look at when selecting a new location...among them are infrastructure, available workforce, fire insurance ratings, police presence, support businesses, cost of living, wages etc... One of the biggest is the education system. It is difficult to recruit degreed workers for skilled positions and management when education is not a priority for the local area. I encourage you to join the PTO at your child/children's school(s) so you can help improve our education system thus making our county more attractive for relocating/expanding businesses.

As Eldridge Cleaver said, "You are either part of the solution or part of the problem"

-- Posted by Bamadoc72 on Fri, Sep 14, 2012, at 11:24 PM

So is being part of the solution agreeing to an entirely new tax when we have no assurances that the county won't continue to ask for more later?

I don't have children, but I do agree, parental involvement is the BEST way to improve education. There is NOT enough engagement, especially in the high risk populations, which unfortunately, is the segment that costs the most to educate.

-- Posted by malamutemom on Sat, Sep 15, 2012, at 7:51 AM

As stated early on, much of the resistance will boil down to trust and from what I have read, very few have trust in our leaders, elected or hired.

I see an opportunity for those of us wanting to help education, but will start a new discussion thread. This one is has its' own direction.

-- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Sep 15, 2012, at 9:22 AM

If you have children in the current school systems that can not use proper English,spell,or make change for a dollar without counting on there fingers there is a problem.You could spend a trillion dollars and it would be the same.Why reward someone for not doing there job?We don't re elect official's that don't do there job,so why would you give someone a raise who did not do there's.Maybe we need to send the school board to a Dave Ramsey class.

-- Posted by mytaxesaremine on Sat, Sep 15, 2012, at 10:06 AM

Bama, doesn't the state pay about the same percentage of educational funds to other counties? Are we the only county being subsidized? I think not. It is ridiculous to suggest that we are somehow asking more of our state government than other counties because we don't care about education.

Are our educators in some sort of delusional world where they believe their the only ones holding degrees and not being paid what they THINK they deserve? Im not being paid what I think I'm worth either. I'm just not asking you to subsidize me while I'm eating steaks every night and leaving the hose on all night.

Your right about industry, they do consider an educated workforce a priority for locating new sites. But statistically TN has among the highest graduation rates in the country with the lowest funding. Personally, I think that's great! It demonstrates that we dont have to throw money at something to make it successful.

I personally don't believe the doom and gloom that some of you are suggesting. Yes, our education system is proving itself to be failing. I agree with that. But, we have demonstrated that throwing money at it is not solving a thing. Should I remind you to look at Washinton D.C.?

Develop a plan that does fix it and we will pay for that. Stop spending the money we do give you irresponsibly and we will grow more trusting. You can't throw our money away and expect that we will just keep funding your wastefulness.

"You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn." Abraham Lincoln.

-- Posted by frankjohns on Sat, Sep 15, 2012, at 10:30 AM

I think it is unfortunate that the Schools are used as a political football in order to increase or add new taxes.

It seems to be a typical ploy to say "it is for the children" when wanting to dip into the taxpayers pocket once again. The smear on the teacher(s) is unwarranted and dispicable to me.

Anyone with common sense knows you can't spend more than you make indefinitely. Most can't simply say "I need more" and then take it by force withou going to jail. Then, when citizens look for waste and fraud, even at the local level, they find it. Of course there is mistrust!!

The issus with the wheel tax, to me, is just another case of the wrongful use of power to overcome poor decisions. The money is there, the citizens do their part. Prioritize and cut the spending in all areas across the county.

The Sheriffs dept. was just approved for buying 9 new cars. I would guess those cars, with equipment, cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $450,000 or more. Would you vote for a Wheel tax to buy the Sheriff new cars? Whats' the difference if it is "for the schools"?

-- Posted by Liveforlight on Sat, Sep 15, 2012, at 11:20 AM

I am a mother of three. All of them were educated in Bedford County. My youngest is a senior this year. I'm all for a wheel tax as long as all monies are spent wisely and all these classroom fees and fundraising (magazines, candy,wrapping paper,etc.) are eliminated. By the time our neighborhood kids are done with us, we'd be saving money.

-- Posted by dot340 on Sat, Sep 15, 2012, at 5:03 PM

No teacher that I know is complaining about how little s/he makes. The only money I have heard discussed among teachers is in regards to resources, facilities, or to decrease the class size (which benefits the students). And this forum was not intended to create a place to bad mouth and belittle people who do work hard and love the students of this county.

If your child has had an incompetent teacher, I hate that. I hope you brought it to the attention of the teacher, principal, and district officials. If your child has been in an incompetent school, I would hope that you followed the same protocol or moved. As a parent it is your job to prompt change in your child's education if you feel it is lacking. Why wouldn't you?

If your child has a bad experience in school year after year, maybe the problem isn't school.

Bedford County School system works for students that have families working with the teachers and supporting what goes on in the classroom. Often it works in spite of what goes on outside the classroom. It is ridiculous for anyone to continue to attack every educator and accuse him/her of not doing his/her job. The question is: do you support the wheel tax or not?

"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." Elanor Roosevelt

-- Posted by im just sayin' on Sat, Sep 15, 2012, at 5:17 PM

i came on here as the first response..and never really got an answer to my questions.

if a wheel tax is put into effect it better go for the roads. i believe the city and county taxes are used for the school system..as well as state funding.

like i said im not against schools but i always thought wheel tax was for roads.

to sum it all up...if your a politician..you are a crook,liar and thief.

there is no politician that cares about people fom city, state, or federal government.

they all just want to find a way to line thier pockets somehow at your exspense.

-- Posted by kyhhfan1 on Sat, Sep 15, 2012, at 5:41 PM

I say no to a new tax. Not because teachers do not deserve better pay. In my opinion every county employee except the school superintendent and his cronies deserve better pay, better insurance. However every time we set back and let another tax be levied against the people we loose another freedom. People need to be talking about the fact that the right to tax is the right to own and or deny. The easiest thing the people who have been elected to guide our county can do is asses another tax on the people. That is the least controversial thing they can do. If the county would post the names and addresses of all of the parents of our students who do not pay for their children in the school system we would be outraged. Some classes have ninty percent of the students who do not pay for lunches, do not pay room fees, do not pay for field trips. If the county has the authority to assess a tax on the citizens to pay for better schools they can make the people who send their children to school and who are going to have to pay a wheel tax pay the base fees for going to school. Parents who work good jobs, they smoke, tattoo, drive nice cars, drink, go to the movies, have cable and satelite t.v., cell phones and could very well pay room fees and lunch fees and expect thier children to take every free ride field trip without a pay day. It is a lot easier for the county budget folks to make senior citizens pay a wheel tax than it is for them to make the people with children pay for their kids school. The reason it cannot be called a school tax is the county cannot deny access to the schools if the parents do not pay but if they do not pay the wheel tax they cannot get plates for their car. The only way to circumvent the law of school access is penalize every one with a wheel tax. Say no to wheel taxes.

-- Posted by tough love on Sat, Sep 15, 2012, at 5:57 PM

kyhhfan1

I am not happy with your comment about all polticians being crooks and liars. You must not know the meaning to ALL. My dad and mom were both County Commissioners and they were not crooks or liars. They cared more about Bedford County than they cared about themselves. I will pray for you and your hated. My father fought for the company in town that puts food on tables and pays their taxes. My mother supported schools until her death. She fought for the pay they do get. What a shame that you place every politician in the same category. May God Bless You! I USED MY REAL NAME!

-- Posted by vanessatunevincent on Sat, Sep 15, 2012, at 6:57 PM

We can all fuss and complain.....there is no fair price to put on a teachers pay. When I was a child you got the ruler or a paddling. Now they get a free day off for bad behavior or if their real bad they get alternative school. God only knows what it would cost a teacher if they pulled out a paddle. Look around we have police officers in our Bedford County Schools. My hats off to them all. I couldn't do it. That's my choice. As for the wheel tax at this moment roads are a good idea. With the man controlling the money right now the hard working, dedicated teachers will not see a dime of it.

-- Posted by vanessatunevincent on Sat, Sep 15, 2012, at 7:27 PM

Amen to what the above one has stated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Posted by hours on Sat, Sep 15, 2012, at 8:13 PM

Frankjohns, I agree that all aspects of government spending and waste needs to be placed in check. As far as the state funding goes, yes all school districts receive some state and federal funding. However the amount the local areas put in varies greatly. In Davidson County for example, $11,080 was spent per pupil last year. Of that the state provided $2,827. Here $7,991 was spent per pupil. The state provided $4,538. Not saying we should be spending what Davidson is spending. Simply making an observation.

As for the graduation vs funding goes... Until Tennessee decided to participate in the "Race to the Top" program our students were far below proficient compared to other states based on a nation test (National Accessment of Educational Performance). Hypothetically speaking...With the states dictating what their graduation standards are, "State A" could require their students to simply be able to add 2+2, while "State B" could require their students to study Astro-Physics. The "State A" has a 90% graduation rate but only spends $100 per student. "State B" has an 80% graduation but they spend $500 per student. Yes "State A" has a higher graduation rate with less funding but in the real world will their students be able to compete with the "State B"?

The bottom line is we need to ensure that our children are given the best possible chance of success we can. However the solution will not be accomplished here. Until people become active participants in the county and question things repeatedly things will not change. If you don't ask different questions don't expect different answers.

-- Posted by Bamadoc72 on Sat, Sep 15, 2012, at 8:26 PM

I have attended every meeting. I've requested every document that's available. I've called school board members, commissioners and anybody else I can worry. I've been laughed at for throwing my arms in the air and saying....let's do it. I'm tired of hearing about it. I'm tired of the blame game. The commission meeting had about 10 or 12 people attend.

BAMADOC72.....preach it on. Folks go talk to your school director. Ask him what's going on. Call all local officials. Always keep in mind the ones that don't answer or return your calls or emails are the ones you need to keep one eye on at all times. It might help to call the governor as well. I've called him and his folks as well. I want my child to sign in someday as VANDYDOC15. I'm fighting for it as long as she wants it.

-- Posted by vanessatunevincent on Sat, Sep 15, 2012, at 9:12 PM

A Wheel Tax- For or Against? It is 2 years away at least. My vote for the best comment is: Dot340

Smartest comment: Bamadoc72 and frankjohns

Know it all: we'll most of us can tell.

I would give an organ to know who you guys are!!!!! As for me the blog scene is not for me. I have lots of info on my Facebook page. Come visit.

-- Posted by vanessatunevincent on Sun, Sep 16, 2012, at 2:13 AM

Parents who have "good jobs" will not qualify for the free lunch program - which also covers the room fees, field trips, and so on. The program is based on income and family size, just like any other gov't program. Things happen in life that are not expected and so parents end up in a bind. However, there are some who live off of the system and do not care how much burden they are putting on the system. But that is a whole different story.

The wheel tax sticker is a no for me. Simply because as I saw in Rutherford County while growing up - the prices rise every year or so, the county stating that they need more and more money. That is one of many reasons why I moved to Bedford.

I understand that the director is stating that the money would go toward education. However, we know when money hits the hands of someone greedy, it never really makes it to where it is suppose to go. There is so much waste of money in this county that it is horrendous. Before the county/city gov't starts begging for money, they need to start cutting what they can first. Just as you run a household, when money gets tight, you start cutting unnecessary bills. Then you can see what you have to work with.

The comment about "politicians not being crooks and liars". There are a hand full of politicians that do the jobs that they are suppose to do. But, many only seem to care about themselves and how much money they can get. I do not know the politicians in this town, so I cannot say if they are fighting for this county or not. But, I will say that the politicians are not like they used to be. They used to work for you - not for the guys who line their pockets. They used to help the little people - not throw the little people under the bus. Times have changed, sadly, where it's all about the money and how much can I get.

For the comment that if you have a problem with a teacher, then you must do something about it. I actually had a problem with a couple of teachers. I solved the problem by pulling my children out of the school system since the county wouldn't do anything about the teachers. We no longer have anything to do with the education system in this county. However, I will say that the couple of years that they were in the system, they had great teachers, except for the 2. I know that the great teachers work more than what they are paid. They dedicate their lives in educating the young people so they will have a chance for better lives. I know how much planning, time, and research it takes to educate students, though I only have 3 I can imagine how it would be for 30+. But the teachers who do not care about educating students ends up in the spotlight more often casting a negative light on the great ones.

-- Posted by PrpleHze on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 2:12 AM

Bama, you make great points. Sometimes we have no idea how much we don't know about a subject simply because we didn't have all the information.

That is why I get so offended when I'm given information which is incomplete and which frames an idea or a story in a way which can be misleading.

It forces us to seek out the facts and information which tell a more enlightened story. I wish I didn't have to do that. I wish I could just trust what I am being told as being factual and complete but that has not happened.

I've learned more about our education system funding from you, other bloggers and my own research than we could have possibly expected from attending school board meetings.

Just an example, the point you just made. Now I want to know where Tennessee falls on the scale of achievement baselines. Are we expecting less of our graduates than Washington D.C. or are we somewhere about the same? Are our graduation rates even comparable?

If our expectations are low, that is something we need to know. When we have a high performing school in Bedford County, what does that really mean as it compares to high performing schools elsewhere?

Is our high performing Cascade School considered low performing by the standards of New York? You have opened a new door for us which deserves to be explored. Kudos to Bamadoc.

Getting back on track, I think we have collectively said repeatedly that we are not ready to authorize more tax money without accountability, objectivity, transparency, and a well managed - professionally executed plan.

I doubt those things are possible with this particular director but I love to be proven wrong. Good government leaders have a quality about them which is easily detected. Humility and honesty are just a few of the important one's.

We are very fortunate to have some folks like that occupying some of the highest levels of county government but those are qualities you cannot learn on the job. You either have class or you do not.

I almost feel as if we need to begin a dialogue concerning a buy-out of this man's contract and start over. The commission has obviously lost its faith in this guy and our schools are only going to suffer as a result. He has even arrogantly attacked them in this very same news source.

The school board has its work cut out for them to get him under control. We as citizens have our work cut out for us to organize our efforts to force economic accountability on this school board and curtail the quick fix mentality of new taxes without reasonable efforts to "do what's right" with the money we are already giving them.

We have a very high expectation of individuals we entrust with power. That "power" should not be something they feel but something they are accountable to. Very few of us ever really "get" that.

Thank you for the compliment Vanessa. I will try not to dissapoint you.

-- Posted by frankjohns on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 8:52 AM

The fact that Bedford county doesn't have a wheeltax was a plus factor when we decided to purchase a home here. After living in Nashville and being taxed poor from wheeltax ,marta, and the for evergrowing property tax.We wanted a more appealing county to live in. A wheeltax is only the being as one read wrote once it is here it will slowly increase unless the spending is modiified.This alluring small community will be just like the bigger cities.

-- Posted by ladypga321 on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 10:24 AM

I think I was taken out of text on my computer comment.I was saying that we spend a half of million dollars on a program,replace computer systems like we change our underwear(instead of updating them)and still continue to purchase text books that are not used.If you have to spend a million on IT do it,just don't change companies to help your buddies.Update it is a whole lot cheaper.Our director made a $500,000 purchase without going through the school board or the finance dept.I thought that was against the law now days.That's the problem I have giving my hard earned money for a wheel tax to support his I am God attitude.

-- Posted by mytaxesaremine on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 12:49 PM

To: mytaxesaremine. I agree with you 100%. With that being said, I will defend the program that was being used was not a good program. If a company offers a program a good business decision would have been to lease the program and see if it was the right one. That's where Dr. Butrum and his knowledge could have looked at the SPI's and compared them to make a decision. Instead he jumped in with both feet and convinced the board. When I ask about the program it was laid in Ed Gray's lap. The timing didn't add up for that to be true. We totally wasted a half of a million dollars. You should always "test drive" something before you buy it. If one company won't allow that there is one out there that will. It makes me feel blessed that I learned more from my general business teacher than some career college students. Pray daily and this to shall pass!

-- Posted by vanessatunevincent on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 9:04 PM

To :frankjohns. Look back up the list and answer BROKEASAJOKE'S question about the federal funding. That caught my eye as well. I have tried to talk to Dr. Butrum several times, with no luck. It's not good to call another human being a liar and blame others for your mistakes. I jumped in this blog on the defense because ALL is a mighty word. Your very welcome! I'm looking forward to seeing your homework assignment. Any information I have you may need can be emailed to vanvincent4@gmail.com

-- Posted by vanessatunevincent on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 9:30 PM

I encourage each of you to read the linked report:

http://www.air.org/files/AIR_Int_Benchma...

These are education benchmarks that each state adopts as its own in order to measure our progress against other states and countries as an element of the race to the top program.

You will be proud to know that Tennessee chose to adopt the lowest of four performance standards. Not only that, we are at the very bottom of the list for education performance.

Essentially, any Tennessee school performing at an excellent level would be considered in distress in some states. Massachusetts or South Carolina in particular.

In Massachusetts, their 4th grade pupils significantly exceed the performance level of our 8th grade students. Kind of makes me want to print a bumper sticker, "Your 4th grader can beat up my 8th grade honor student".

I'm now convinced that no matter how much money we spend, mediocrity is the very "BEST" we could possibly hope for. The TEA and our State government apparently gave up all hopes on TN children.

Can we really expect our children to exceed the requirements in their curriculums in order to offset their disadvantaged status? My experience says no. They will either do what is expected of them or less. It's sad that our honors students are actually resource students only being manipulated to believe they are honors students.

Most are probably capable of being honors students if they were only given a chance, but they are not given that chance. Instead of wasting more money on a mediocre system, scream at our state elected officials to give our kids a chance.

-- Posted by frankjohns on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 9:58 PM

Frankjohns, that was true for 2007 and before, but TN's hand was slapped for low expectations and the measuring stick was raised considerably. I don't remember the year this started. Students have to answer 85% of the questions correctly on standardized test to be considered proficient. That's like saying if you make below a B you fail. Also, TN has adopted the common core standards to be sure our students' expectations match those across the nation. Rigor has been stressed in all schools. TN is also part of PARCC (PARCC.org)--- You want to measure our students nationally over the past couple of years; I would suggest checking out the ACT scores. I don't know how they stack up but certainly a good tool...especially in regards to college readiness.

-- Posted by im just sayin' on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 10:22 PM

I've always been one to think that children want to please their parents & teachers. If you don't expect anything from them, that is exactly what you are going to get. If you are satisfied with a passing 'D', then they are going to be satisfied too. I always encouraged the 'A', but if it was an honest 'B' and my child studied, I was proud of the 'B'. My child ended up setting her own standards and expectations for herself as she got older. She still works for the 'A' but doesn't knock herself down if it's not. She just tries harder the next time. Giving up isn't an option.

With all this said, I had to approach the school when she went into Jr. High and was told the reason she was in one of the low classes was because they didn't have a chair for her. Remind you she was in the 7th grade & put in a 6th grade math class. I'm not even going to post the comment I made. I can promise you I was their worst nightmare and they knew it. I wasn't asking for favors, but I also wasn't going to allow them to 'dumb down' my child. She had set high goals for herself. One precious teacher in the school told me it didn't matter if every teacher or administrator in that school hated me. It was my duty as a parent to do what I thought was best for my child.

I think we have some parents that aren't involved with their child's education and these children are being left behind. The teachers can't do it all. A child has to be respectable and want to get an education & that starts at home.

Now it appears that we have a man that is more concerned about spending money then educating our children. He needs to stop & think about how he got where he is now. He didn't get a Dr. degree because someone lowered the bar.

My opinion is, this isn't about not wanting to pay a wheel tax so that our children can get a good education. The wheel tax is about padding someone's pocket and leaving the educators & children standing in the same place they were prior to a wheel tax.

-- Posted by tipster4 on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 10:42 PM

When my child was a 7th grader, she took her ACT and scored a 16. That's not bad for her age. I said in another post it wouldn't hurt to call and worry the governor! TNCore is going to be another try and fail for the high achieving students. Part of the TNCore is. LESSON ESSENTIAL QUESTION which can be answered as a whole class or individually. They work in groups and it don't take a rocket scientist to figure out how to group them. I see that 16 still being a 16 in the eleventh grade. Just my worry.

-- Posted by vanessatunevincent on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 10:54 PM

Your right tipster.....like Forrest Gump....seats taken. The state wants everybody to be an average student. Education starts at home. It's not our fault some parents don't know that. I will stand up first and say I CAN'T DO THE WORK THEY ARE DOING. Teachers shouldn't fear their jobs because they can't either. You can lead a duck to water but you can't make it swim so don't throw our teachers in head first with their hands tied behind their backs by bringing in so called experts to evaluate them. I'm not talking about elementary students either. Maybe I'm wrong. I've tried to ask but there's never time.

-- Posted by vanessatunevincent on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 11:07 PM

"so don't throw our teachers in head first with their hands tied behind their backs" definitely a good analogy!

-- Posted by im just sayin' on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 11:16 PM

I'm not taking anything away from the teachers. I can say that with the exception of one teacher, all of hers were great teachers. The one wasn't a bad teacher, just fresh out of school & didn't really understand that just because the subject was easy for him, it wasn't for an 8th grader.

I admire the teachers for the jobs they do. I wonder how many of the students in each class either can't speak English and English is their second language.

There is no way I could be a high school teacher, for one I'm not smart enough & for two, the first time one of the kids smarted off to me, I would be in jail. I see more & more parents enabling their children to fail & then want to blame someone else. I definitely think teachers should be able to paddle or if a parent don't trust the system to paddle, then they can come up there and witness the paddling. We shouldn't be paying for a special school for kids that won't behave.

I was taught to respect others & I knew if I didn't it wasn't going to be pleasant when I got home. Way back then we got what was called a whipping. In today's standards, it might be considered child abuse.

I also have to give credit to our commissioners and the school board members that show up for all the meetings. They take time away from their family to help the people of our county. I also have a passion for Bedford Co., unfortunately I don't have the temperament the job requires.

My suggestion would be to send Butrum along with his assistant & Rutherford Co. teachers to Rutherford Co. They already have a wheel tax, let him spend that money. The money left over from those salaries can go to the local teachers that really care about the children of Bedford Co. & a wheel tax won't be needed.

-- Posted by tipster4 on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 11:57 PM

You go tipster! Sounds like your child was put there to help out a group. Mr Hornaday was my 8th grade math teacher and we worked in groups to help each other. He didn't say that but I've figured it out. He helped us out with that paddle. He taught me to be observant. It never failed when we had a test we had to write down what he wore the day before. The teachers fear their jobs so they can't say anything to the parents other than what they are allowed to say. Once again I'm calling it like I see it. That's all I can do observe and assume.

-- Posted by vanessatunevincent on Tue, Sep 18, 2012, at 2:22 AM

It is always easier for the so called leaders to place a tax on the public than to cut cost and manage the departments that are wasting the tax dollars now.It is wide spread abuse all county, city and any government department,this goes for schools also how many times have you been to a school and the doors are propped wide open and the AC running, ball field lights on during the day, what about lost time when teachers and staff have to spend time organizing and overseeing these so called fundraisers. The time/labor that is lost probably over exceeds the profit that comes in from the kids selling that crap.

Anyways back to the matter in hand the money is there it just needs to be used as it was your own and quit passing the collection plate.

There are some good people that try to do the right thing but the burden is just not for them to handle it alone. I guarantee that I can go in to any department and find wasted money or lost labor. Everyone get comfy in there position but sometimes you need to do your job!

-- Posted by johnnyreb on Tue, Sep 18, 2012, at 11:21 AM

Another interesting thought to ponder which could shed more light on the realities of how Bedford County compares to other counties in dollars per pupil, since a starting teacher is compensated according to thier experience and education, I think that we should compare apples to apples.

What does a PHD get you in Rutherford Co. and what does a PHD get you in Bedford Co.? What does a M.S. with no experience earn you in Rutherford Co. versus Bedford County?

I have wondered that if we had an equally educated pool of teachers in Bedford versus Rutherford...just how much difference would we then see? That would be the real number wouldn't it?

Perhaps since MTSU is in Murfreesboro, they have more PHD's and a much higher educated and experienced workforce and thus their salaries are higher. It would be interesting if the T.G. staff would take us down that road and explore the concept of Salary ranges and existing staff experience levels.

Rest assured, I will do so on my own but it would be great to see some interest in the TG to present the case in a broader sense. I guess after Butrum assaults our insurance benefits, a raise wouldn't have much overall effect anyway.

The school board meeting in June pointed out that he intends to cut insurance benefits for schools employee's significantly. He suggested putting everyone at 50% and that would free up enough funds to give classified staff a two or three years worth of raises.

Currently, The total health insurance premiums for teachers, depending on the plan you pick, range from $6015.06 to $6,525.06. For teachers, the state subsidizes 45% of the costs and the county government pays 50% which leaves teachers paying 5% out of pocket for coverage.

Family members of teachers get 75% of their insurance subsidized by state and county government. Other county employees only get a small portion of their insurance benefits paid by the county in comparison.

Butrum didnt mention how much he wanted to cut from our family coverage benefits but my guess is that it would be at or below what he sugests should be paid toward actual employees.

So, he's literally talking about taking thousands of dollars per year out of the pockets of teachers. What does he intend to replace those funds with? If it's a wash, hand out a raise just to take it away with a loss in benefits, then why do it at all?

I am beginning to believe that something is wrong with me. Are my expectations too high?

-- Posted by frankjohns on Tue, Sep 18, 2012, at 2:25 PM

It seems this question has evolved from wheel taxes to education in general so thought this piece might be appropos. I wrote it a couple of years ago and rather than edit to more narrowly fit the discussion, I choose to submit in its entirety. So for what it's worth......

Education: Our Most Important Endeavor

Our system of education has declined from clearly number one in the world to very nearly not in the top twenty. This in the face of spending evermore obscene amounts of money on administration, capital and operating costs. Yet, while this system is demonstrably less efficient and proficient, the most common mantra to "fix it" is more money!

I know of no reasonable person who does not think we need an adequate, even superior, educational system for the youth of our great Country. We all benefit by an excellent system of education by living in a more prosperous and desirable community. Given this, why do we, in the main, express no outrage when our system dives headlong into mediocrity? No company nor institution can continue to exist if the product they produce is inferior. They must install checks-and-balances and accountability to increase proficiency, but in education this is anathema to the present system.

It seems as though we feel if a student perseveres long enough some osmotic process will occur and he will morph into an erudite individual. Presently one could easily arrive at the position our system culminates in a High School Diploma which is a testament to tenacity and longevity rather than academic achievement. This position is bolstered by the recent statement of the Executive Director of the State Board of Education when he reported 3 out of 4 first time freshmen in Tennessee Community Colleges must take remedial courses in Math. and English. Imagine how a young adult, who has made good grades through 12 grades, and assumes he/she has been taught all they need to know, suddenly is denied admission to the University of their choice for academic shortcomings!

The failings in our system stem largely from the fact that teaching is an art, not a science. If it were not so, every teacher would be the same since they have the same, or similar, credentials. The same can be said of administrators. Until we recognize this as fact and institute management systems holding these people accountable for the "product" they produce, we cannot escape mediocrity. The proper preparation of our children for the job market or further education need not be a Sisyphean task. We make it so by not having the political will to seek a better future for our children.

A large element in the failings of the educational system is the lack of participation and insistence of parents and the community at large. This is beyond the schools system's control. We just have to find a way to create an environment that fosters a symbiotic relationship between teachers, administrators, parents and the community. Anything less will grossly weaken this great Country we have inherited.

-- Posted by cmcclanahan on Tue, Sep 18, 2012, at 2:34 PM

Wow! I just learned at least four new words I didn't even know existed. And I thought I was one of the honor students.

Mr. McClanahan is right on the money. We can't spend or tax our way out of this mess. We need to consider hiring business leaders to run our schools instead of people who are indoctrinated to the tired old methods of a broken system.

These education guru's are are building on concepts which do not work. Instead, they should wipe the slate clean and develop modern educational methods which are desgined to mitigate the plethora of failures which are a well-documented constant, not a phenomenon of no-child-left-behind.

I think it is going to take a major shift in the mentality of school boards when selecting their new Directors before we can get a grip on the solutions. This patrimonial cronyism will destroy us as a nation before enough of us recognize how dangerous AND important it is to eliminate it.

As much as it would be fantastic to live in some sort of utopian pantisocracy, we do not. We live in a very competitive and difficult world in which we must outperform others to survive or thrive.

The current mantra of having no winners or losers being drilled into the collective unconsciousness of our children by a broken education system should be forgotten and never repeated. Who came up with that crazy theme anyway?

VOTE NO to the Wheel Tax! It will not create anything but more poverty.

-- Posted by frankjohns on Tue, Sep 18, 2012, at 4:40 PM

*Prefacing comment with the disclaimer that I am posting on my phone. Forgive any misspellings, punctuation errors, or just plain 'ole weird word insertion due to autocorrect. And clumsy fingers*

Carl nails it. We can't keep throwing money at an obsolete system when students need a completely different paradigm to compete at the international level.

Education begins and ends in the home. Children can't value education and won't strive to succeed when their parents don't push them to excellence. Nor will they value the concept of lifelong learning when the parents do not set that example in their own lives.

Just another thing I found interesting. In Sept 2007, the consulting firm of McKinsey and Company published a study, How The World's Best-Performing Schools Come Out on Top', that revealed some interesting findings. In the world's top 10 best school systems, - obviously including the heavy hitters of Singapore, Finland, Korea, subsets of China, but not the US, who is much further down the lust - most of the teachers are in the top 10% of their high school or college class. Also, in those countries, the teaching profession is in the top 3 in terms of preferred career choice among top university students. Not quite the case here, though I understand there are a myriad of reasons for that reality.

I still maintain that most people are not averse to supporting education when they have confidence that every dollar is being spent to produce the 'best and the brightest'. But when they sense that there is waste, or that the system is not working, or that someone's picket is being lined, they balk.

-- Posted by malamutemom on Tue, Sep 18, 2012, at 10:29 PM

frankjohns and malamutemom......Thanks for the kind words. Frankjohns, I think your opening comment demonstrates the essence of education. Education is not lacking in you not knowing some of the words. To the contrary, education not only taught you how to find the meaning of the words but inspired you and motivated you to have the interest to do so. Oh, by the way, I hope you found the words to fit the context in which they were used.

-- Posted by cmcclanahan on Wed, Sep 19, 2012, at 2:51 PM

By the way.....I've had a few calls from friends just to say they are proud I spoke up on behalf of some present and past politicians.....frankjohns, your comment to me was noticed:) thanks again. People seem to think I know who you are. I hope I've figured it out. Lord I hope so! If not I'm dreaming big. Keep studying the big words and research. I'm watching, waiting and praying! The truth will stand when the world's on fire!!!

-- Posted by vanessatunevincent on Wed, Sep 19, 2012, at 3:39 PM

Vanessa, I haven't even tried to figure out who anyone is and most of the time I don't even read the names. This way I don't have to worry about making any personal biasis comments on purpose that may offend someone.

-- Posted by tipster4 on Wed, Sep 19, 2012, at 11:37 PM

The school board members decided to table the wheel tax issue on Tuesday evening. I hope that each of us played a role in that decision. Of course, Doc Butrum also provided tons of new things to criticise him for which, for the most part, are not at all related to the theme of this particular blog.

One in particular which could be related was the part where Doc Butrum stated that he needs another four to five million dollars for schools. When challenged on the subject to state the reasons why...he literally could not answer the question.

Sadly, his $90,000.00 personal assistant was not at the meeting to bail him out. Wouldn't a prudent person assume that a salary such as that would require attendance to the monthly meeting where management is supposed to occur?

All of this brings me an idea for a new credit card commercial:

Progressive Schools Director: $113,000;

Absent Personal Assistant: $90,000;

Bi-Polar Principle: $77,445;

Big green stupid rubber fist: $22.65;

Speachless and dumbfounded PhD: PRICELESS!

These are just more reasons to VOTE NO on the wheel tax...just in case he is able to think of a reason before the next meeting.

I thank each of you for stepping up to the plate to have your important voices and logic heard, even the ones whom have disagreed with me. You guys/gals made it possible to present a balanced argument and forced me to learn a few things.

I especially thank the small number of school board members who are trying their best to hold this administration accountable - despite having to do so under extreme pressure. You guys would definitely lose on Survivor Island and that is a beautiful thing. And, of course, Mrs. Vanessa who is also putting herself out there publicly to bring attention to these issues.

Apologies to Rodney for dominating his blog. I hope he continues to consider posting similar blogs in the future. The numbers represented herein at least demonstrate the strong desire of TG readers to voice thier opinions on controversal subjects, regardless of whether they themselves wish to do so.

A final note: Doc Butrum now has his Online Ordained Ministers license (OOML). I guess the "Diety" really is "In Da House".

-- Posted by frankjohns on Thu, Sep 20, 2012, at 9:04 AM

All information pertaining to the school board, as well as videos of past meetings can be found here:

http://www.bedfordk12tn.com/?DivisionID=...

Also you can find info for the County Commissioners here: http://www.bedfordcountytn.org/boardcomm...

And agendas and minutes of past meetings here: http://www.bedfordcountytn.org/boardmeet...

-- Posted by Rodney Simmons on Thu, Sep 20, 2012, at 11:32 AM

I read the following about the teachers strike in Chicago and it really makes you rethink about teachers here and and how much they are paid. There the average teacher will now make $100,000 after the strike settlement but yet most of those teachers scored less on their ACT than their current students. So they are paying $100,000 a year for mediocrity? It makes me wonder how the teachers here would compare if their ACT scores were matched against the students they are now teaching.

"The Chicago Public Schools teachers' union agreed Tuesday to end the strike and accept some of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's reforms in exchange for pay increases that would bring the average teacher's salary to $100,000 a year.

Reforms include holding teachers partly accountable for their students standardized test scores.

But according to a 2008 study by Illinois Education Research Council, CPS teachers don't perform much better on standardized tests than their own students.

In Illinois, all high school juniors and seniors are required to take the ACT test, whether they plan to attend college or not. Public school teachers in Chicago who took the test when they were in high school averaged a score of 19 out of a possible 36 -- which is worse than the average median score for all students nationwide.

In fact, Illinois students beat the teachers, scoring a 21 on average, though Chicago-area students only scored in the 17-18 range."

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/09/19/chicag...

-- Posted by jaxspike on Thu, Sep 20, 2012, at 7:00 PM

Jaxspike, that was a very informative thread and I appreciate the information. Maybe we should ask our school board to have our teachers take the ACT. As you have intimated, our salaries for educators here may be out of control too one day if we just act as zombies and follow the lead of Doc Butrum.

In 2010, the average income for Tennessee residents was $34,921 and the average Bedford County income was $29,667. Of course we now know the average classroom teachers salary for the state and for Bedford County and those salaries are significantly higher than those figures. Their salaries should be higher. They are college graduates and they are dealing with an increasingly disrespectful and more difficult to teach demographic.

As I have previously stated, the salaries were once a joke. Educators worked very hard to convince the public and government that they deserved better. Some of us believe it is now much better than before; people listened to our pleas and voiced their support for underpaid educators and their will was done. Some of us however, believe we should keep on convincing the public that educators are still suffering. It has worked so far, why not keep the faucet running and get all we can get.

My personal opinion is that if educators, such as the ones in Chicago, continue to abuse the power of their numbers and the power of their participation, in order to FORCE government to pay those salaries that many of them could never earn in the private sector, then there will be a strong backlash for ALL educators. In case no one has noticed, there are alternatives now that were once absent.

Everyone wants more money. No one earns what they think their worth. But the reality is that our educators are being paid what our County can afford to pay them and their salaries are a third higher than the average earned salary in the community.

Yes, we get a big subsidy from the State. The State actually gives a portion of the taxes it generates for the State back to counties for education. We collect it and send it to the State and they are kind enough to send some back.

The counties which are huge collectors of revenue for our state and which generate enormous amounts of money for themselves will receive less per-capita in subsidies because they don't need as much as we do. What we do receive in subsidies is based upon a set formula and it is Taxpayer money, not some gift from our State.

Of 95 counties, we rank among the lowest paid, the least educated and the oldest in age. Our county does not generate the huge dollars in tax revenue that other counties can collect. Of all the counties in Middle Tennessee, we are one of the few which has NOT raised taxes to solve financial problems and which do not have a wheel tax. Thank our Mayor and Commissioners every time you see them for this as the pressure to raise taxes has been steady and would have been much easier than the efforts they made to clean up waste which was (and in some cases still is) systemic.

Some of the older and long-established elected officials have fought this new centralized accounting that Mayor Ray supported and got passed ever since it has been in place. They don't like having to be accountable for their expenditures. They never were before so why now? Under the old system, you tried very hard to spend everything you had so you could justify the same or more money the next year. Now, you get what you need. If you have money leftover, it goes back to the county. That system is how they have been able to keep from raising our taxes.

That system is also one of the biggest problems that Doc Butrum is having with Bedford County government. He is not used to government finance accountability. Rutherford County did things differently. He thinks he should just be able to do whatever he chooses to do without oversight. He thinks it is HIS money and is used to spending every dime which is budgeted. He doesn't understand that the schools budget is based upon predictions in collections. That our county may not actually raise or collect the predicted funds allocated in his budget. If he spends it all without oversight, and we do not actually collect all those funds, that he puts the rest of county operations in jeopardy. That is how government is sometimes forced to raise taxes.

The bottom line, our county cannot afford to pay the schools system any more money than they are getting. If the Director wants to change how he allocates the budget he now receives in order to free up money to pay teachers more, he could easily do that.

If people are getting tired of the abuse, let us work to create a more academically challenging and better managed charter school. The law is there to support it. Doc Butrum can keep pushing our buttons but we have buttons we can push ourselves. If we want to change the sad reality of Bedford County demographics, we have the tools to act accordingly.

-- Posted by frankjohns on Fri, Sep 21, 2012, at 10:01 AM

OK RODNEY !!!!!!!!!! Find something else for us to moan and groan about.

-- Posted by mytaxesaremine on Wed, Sep 26, 2012, at 12:45 PM

No new taxes! Cut spending. We can get by on less. $90,000 Assistant? Seriously? Seems this is excessive?

-- Posted by realsimple2000 on Wed, Sep 26, 2012, at 4:12 PM

I would like to share with the public that I have made a few challenges of my own in the last few days. I will wait it out and see if they just talk the talk or really walk the walk. At this point I will keep the faith. I'm sure our community leaders will do what's right once they see a little light at the end of the tunnel. I have made a point to address each commissioner and board member that I've caught. I have met with Mrs. Harris, she listened to the good, bad, and ugly. She knows where i stand and she lived through my speech, which makes her a pretty tough lady. Calls from concerned parents to the board of commissioners forced them to step in. Our commissioners do hold the key to The safe. Sometimes we have to step back,swallow our pride and listen to to the lecture. Another one of Joyce's saying.....you don't bite the hand that feeds you! I can say it now that she's gone. I learned to listen to the sermons instead of arguing and usually got exactly what I wanted. Time will tell. We have all walks of life representing our county. I know first hand they do it because they care. Their phones ring off the wall day and night and they are not getting rich. Thank god for mobile to mobile minutes. I feel sure my name has been added to everybody's contact list as HERE WE GO AGAIN.

-- Posted by vanessatunevincent on Thu, Sep 27, 2012, at 11:21 PM

My email address is vanvincent4@gmail.com. Feel free to send me a small email requesting my contact info. Thanks:)

-- Posted by vanessatunevincent on Sat, Sep 29, 2012, at 2:54 PM

No new taxes of any kind is fine with me. let goverment live within its mean, just as we all have to. If teachers want more pay, switch professions.

-- Posted by Chef Boy R.D. on Tue, Oct 2, 2012, at 4:56 PM


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Rodney Simmons is a life long resident of Bedford County. He grew up in the Halls Mill area and graduated from Community High School. Rodney's career has primarily been in the construction industry and he holds a degree in Construction Management. Some of his hobbies include fishing, reading and writing. He presently lives in Shelbyville with his wife and two teenage children.
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