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published on 03/29/2004

Complete Our Community; Build Our School


Statement of Purpose
Friends of Signal Mountain High School was formed in 1999, at which time the ˝˘ sales tax in the Towns of Signal Mountain and Walden, with our support, was adopted by referendum in both towns. All of the proceeds of that tax have been earmarked for the construction of a high school for our community. Since that time, we have continued to work on this project and, in the last year, have discussed our needs with the County Mayor, the County Commissioners and School Board members. We have reluctantly concluded that, in order for us to have a new high school/middle school on Signal Mountain by 2006, because of limited funds being available for school construction in Hamilton County, it will be desirable for $10 million to be provided to the County by Signal Mountain and Walden to assist in the construction of the school. If this is not done, we are convinced that the high school would be postponed for an extended period of time.

General Facts
·Signal Mountain is the largest community in the County that does not offer the opportunity for K-12 education in their own community.

·Our survey last fall of the parents of children attending Nolan, Thrasher and the Middle School showed that over 97% of those responding reported that they would send their children to a high school/middle school on the Mountain. These results confirm and mirror the results of a similar survey given to the same audience in 1999.

·There are over 1,000 children attending Nolan and Thrasher elementary schools and 370 in the Middle School. This demonstrates there is the potential for more than 800 students who would attend the high school and another 600 in the middle school.

·At present, our children must commute long distances to attend high school out of our community. Many commutes force our children to spend 30 minutes or more on the bus.

·The new middle school/high school will cost over $20 million.

·We believe the school would increase the overall quality of life in our community. It would "complete" our community.

Property Tax Facts
·In order to complete this school with a target date of August 2006, it will be necessary for $10 million in bonds to be provided by the Towns of Signal Mountain and Walden. This will cover less than half of the building costs but will provide an incentive to the County to include our school in a County bond issue this summer.

·Although the amount of any property tax increase has not been set, any such increase will cost less than $100 per year per $100,000 of the property tax appraised value of your home.

·Property taxes are deductible for income tax purposes.

·The property tax ordinance will include a "sunset" provision, which means that when the bonds are paid off, the property tax increase will disappear.

·The tax will not go into effect and the bonds will not be issued unless and until the Hamilton County Commission agrees to build and operate the schools and include our new school in a bond issue in 2004.

·We have an excellent chance of having our school in operation by August 2006.

·The proceeds to be received in the future by Signal Mountain and by Walden from their share of the ˝˘ sales tax will also be used to help pay for the bonds.

·The recent County-wide sales tax referendum, which was overwhelmingly supported in Fairmount and Valdeau, the only precincts on Signal Mountain eligible to vote, was passed overwhelmingly and means that Hamilton County public schools will receive one-half of the ˝˘ sales tax collected in the entire County. This committed an additional $1,600,000 of sales tax proceeds from the County and firms up the $8,672,500 collected in the City of Chattanooga. Had this referendum not passed, it is doubtful that there would be any school construction in Hamilton County this year.

·Property tax assessment information is available online at

Your members of the Signal Mountain Town Council and of the Walden Board of Aldermen need to know you support this project. Please call, write or e-mail them as soon as possible. Please forward a copy to FOSMHS.

Walden: Mayor Peter Hetzler, Elizabeth Akins, and David Epperson
1836 Taft Hwy.

Home Addresses, Phone Numbers

Mayor Peter Hetzler, , 2211 East Brow Rd.
Elizabeth Akins, , 6321 Forest Park Dr.
David Epperson, , 1419 East Brow Rd.

Signal Mtn: Mayor Jim Althaus, Rachel Bryant, Bill Leonard, Steve Ruffin, and Robert White
1111 Ridgeway Avenue

Home Addresses, Phone Numbers
Mayor Jim Althaus, , 108 Stratford Way
Rachel Bryant, , 504 Hathaway Drive
Bill Leonard, , 16 Whispering Pines Drive
Steve Ruffin, , 506 Ohio Avenue
Robert White, , 206 Flint Street

In an effort to show the dedication and will of the people for this project, we also need as many people as possible to attend the regularly scheduled meetings for the Towns of Signal Mountain and Walden. Below is a schedule of those meetings.

Signal Mountain Town Meetings:
Walden Town Meetings:
Special Referendum Meeting:
Tuesday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 23 at 7 p.m.
Tuesday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Monday, April 12 at 7 p.m
Monday, May 10 at 7 p.m.

For more information or to sign up as a volunteer, please contact the Friends of Signal Mountain High School.
Friends of Signal Mountain High School
PO Box 694

Visit us online at

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