- Associated Press - Monday, March 24, 2014

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - Dozens of parents and students have gathered in front of the Hamilton County courthouse to protest a proposed budget that omits funding for a new Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press (https://bit.ly/1lgz2AA) reports parents said they planned to stay at the location through Wednesday, when the County Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposal from Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger.

Children held signs supporting the school on Sunday afternoon and shouted and waved to passing cars.

Coppinger has said the county has enough funds to complete four of the school system’s six recommended school projects. His proposed budget left out the new building for the arts school and a new middle school in the East Hamilton area.

“We don’t have a voice inside that courthouse,” said Dana Cleckler, who has three children at CSLA. “We’re not a big enough entity in any one district to make noise and threaten a candidacy.”

CSLA has been asking for a new school for more than 25 years, but so far has been unsuccessful.

“We’ve been promised and they keep going back on their promises,” said Elizabeth Kimball, another CSLA mother. “At what point are they going to just give the money up or say to us, ‘this is it. This is exactly how long you have to wait.’”

Instead, they just keep saying “you can have the money. Don’t give up, don’t give up.”

Parents say the condition of the building keeps deteriorating.

“Our school is falling down and my son has asthma and he has to go into a portable that has mildew because there was a leak,” Kimball said. “They try to fix it but they’re just putting Band-Aids on the problem.”


Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, https://www.timesfreepress.com

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