Fix the school funding model
Several letters and editorials published in your newspaper have criticized how the Washington County School System has funded construction of its proposed Jonesborough school. Basically, these criticisms have centered around the county not paying Johnson City Schools its fair share of bond proceeds.
I feel these criticisms are unfair, because they fail to discuss the overall funding realities. According to statistics published on Sept. 23, 2019, Washington County Schools receive $27.4 million, while Johnson City Schools receive $39 million for fewer students. On a per-student basis, Johnson City receives $3,268 compared to $2,097 for Washington County. Johnson City receives 55% more.
This imbalance occurs because Johnson City receives eight times as much property tax from commercial property. Also, it receives the lion’s share of the local option sales taxes.
If people and organizations in Johnson City truly care about all the students in Washington County, they would be fighting for either fairer distribution of tax revenues or for a joint city-county school system.
‘Fake news’ resolution is bad news
I want to state my agreement and support of three letters in the Sunday, March 1, edition of the Press. One was from David R. Jenny, Johnson City, the second was from Don Williams, Piney Flats, and the third was from Roger Fernstrom, Telford. Three letters were critical of Rep. Micah Van Huss’ proposal to have the state recognize CNN and the Washington Post as “fake news.”
Mr. Van Huss is the sponsor of the resolution, which has now been advanced out of the House Constitutional Protections and Sentencing Committee to the full House Judiciary panel for consideration.
The Associated Press article of February 2020 stated that, “All seven subcommittee members are up for re-election later this year.”
I urge the Press to keep us informed of the status of this measure. We don’t need our government representatives telling us what to believe. The public and voters have the responsibility of deciding for themselves what is the truth. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution makes it perfectly clear that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech or the press.” Perhaps it is time that our representatives re-read this document.
I am writing in response to Patricia Horton, who says the noise on I-26 sounds like Gabriel’s trumpets and a dozen Harleys barreling down the road. Now she wants a noise barrier installed between her house and I-26. This is something that happens a lot more than some people think. Here is my view.
She says she’s been living in her house since 2018. Patricia, I-26, a major thoroughfare in Northeast Tennessee down through North and South Carolina, was constructed in 1960. It’s been there for 58 years. You knew it was there when you moved in. You chose to move in next to it. Now you want the state to install a noise barrier when it runs past your house.
I’ve been around racing all my life. It’s like the people who buy a house next to a race track. When the racing season opens up, they complain about the noise. They knew the track was there, but bought next to the track anyway. You decided to live next to a major interstate and then complain about the noise and want the state to pay for your comfort after you’re there.
If certain people want peace and quiet, then they shouldn’t live where there is known noise. Interstate highways with trucks and traffic 24/7 and speedways with screaming race cars at least once a week are two things I believe anyone with some sense of reality would know might interrupt your peace and quiet if you decide to live next to either one of these.
JON H. CLIFTON