Schools in disrepair would benefit from Metro tax increase - WSMV News 4

Schools in disrepair would benefit from Metro tax increase

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A Metro high school has so many maintenance problems that some parents are worried it's not safe for their kids to attend classes there.

Mayor Karl Dean has yet to announce all of the details of his $300 million capital spending plan, but a large chunk of that money is going to fix Stratford High School, which is in dire need of repairs.

Open the door to the criminal justice classroom, and you will immediately notice a problem with mold.

"Air quality inside is a real issue here too," said Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Dr. Jesse Register.

The single-pane windows aren't insulated enough to keep the rain outside, which doesn't exactly lead to a well-preserved mock crime scene.

"These windows are about as energy inefficient as anything ever made, aren't they," Register said.

Stratford High has issues, and it doesn't take long to see them. But the biggest issues are the ones you can't see by taking a quick look around the classroom.

"You're having mold issues. You're having radon coming through the floors. There are system wide issues in this building that need to be addressed," Dean said.

Those are the issues that worry Danny Mosely, a Stratford High parent and longtime school volunteer.

"If this continues, students will be sick, and they will not be able to learn," he said.

Stratford is set to receive a $20 million makeover. Improvements include a more secure entryway and major changes to the heating and plumbing systems for better energy efficiency.

"Eighty percent of the cause from tickets for repair that come from this building have to do with those systems," Register said.

Dean toured the school Thursday as he tries to make his case for a property tax increase. And while parents like Mosely are already convinced, there are many taxpayers who are not.

"It's money well spent, it's an investment into our future," Mosely said.

Taxpayer watchdog groups oppose the increase and point out some high salaries of Metro government officials and the money given in tax breaks to large corporations as alternatives to a 53-cent property tax increase.

They plan to present an alternative budget to the Metro Council to consider.

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