Leftover School “FUN”d Money – The Data Doesn’t Lie

My usual detractors are in a tizzy over my most recent column and a discussion had during a council meeting (reported on here) regarding the school's practice of stockpiling cash while claiming poverty. I also stated, "in spite of being one of the most heavily funded systems in the state, much of your money is not making it into the … Continue reading Leftover School “FUN”d Money – The Data Doesn’t Lie

You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first ~Frederick B. Wilcox

By year’s end, we’ll have had three major elections. Tomorrow, however, may prove to be the real tipping point in our community. A number of citizens have expressed an intent to take a stand in support of their positions on two issues – the school transportation cuts and the future of Clark Park. For weeks, … Continue reading You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first ~Frederick B. Wilcox

Afterthoughts on the 2015 Budget Discussions

A lot of incomplete, and sometimes inaccurate, information has been disseminated to the public regarding the FY2015 city and school budgets. Such inconsistencies compound citizen frustrations as they begin to feel the impact of both bodies’ decisions. I would like to offer some clarification along with supporting resources which are hyperlinked below. First, let me … Continue reading Afterthoughts on the 2015 Budget Discussions

2015 Oak Ridge School Budget Alternatives/Considerations

My last in-depth analysis of the school budget was in 2011. It's interesting to see what has changed and what hasn't. You can read for yourself here. Dr. Borchers and Members of the Board of Education: I have reviewed your budget proposals and would like to share my thoughts for consideration in your final deliberations.  I … Continue reading 2015 Oak Ridge School Budget Alternatives/Considerations

March 2014 Oak Ridge Schools Safety Update

Since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Oak Ridge Schools and the Oak Ridge Police Department (ORPD) last August, a number of significant safety improvements have occurred within our schools including physical security upgrades, leadership adjustments and increased police presence. As you may know, this time last year, we had only … Continue reading March 2014 Oak Ridge Schools Safety Update

THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 3/3/14 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the March 3, 2014 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website as part of the April 2014 Regular … Continue reading THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 3/3/14 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY

The Oak Ridge High School Debt Chronicles – How a $40 Million Project Will Cost Taxpayers Over $126 Million (So Far)

NOTE: The Oak Ridge City Council will hold a special non-voting meeting on February 27, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. at the Municipal Building to discuss the high school debt resolution as well as a request received by the BOE on 2/26/14 to approve an amendment to their annual budget in the amount of $1.75 million. … Continue reading The Oak Ridge High School Debt Chronicles – How a $40 Million Project Will Cost Taxpayers Over $126 Million (So Far)

Report on the 2/21/14 Joint Meeting Between Oak Ridge City Council and the BOE

For the first time in two years (and since I joined council), the Oak Ridge Board of Education (BOE) and City Council held a joint meeting. The agenda was heavy and the mayor unilaterally established a time limit of 1 ½ hours at the very beginning. The meeting room was packed and a crowd formed … Continue reading Report on the 2/21/14 Joint Meeting Between Oak Ridge City Council and the BOE

Traditional vs Balanced School Schedules Part 2

There’s a lot of community discussion going on in anticipation of a possible major change to our school system calendars. (Read the Assistant Superintendent’s op-ed piece on it here.) Currently, Oak Ridge Schools operate, for the most part, on two different schedules.  The school administration is proposing that ALL schools go to the same schedule. … Continue reading Traditional vs Balanced School Schedules Part 2

Revisiting Oak Ridge School Calendars – Traditional v. Balanced Schedule

An item on the next BOE meeting agenda (viewable here) for this Monday night’s meeting includes a discussion about changing from a hybrid school calendar to a streamlined calendar where all of our schools operate on the same schedule. The options proposed (see 2015 2016 calendar options) include either having all schools on the same … Continue reading Revisiting Oak Ridge School Calendars – Traditional v. Balanced Schedule

January City Council Update/School Security Update

Happy New Year! Here is your update for January. I’ve pasted a few noteworthy items below. Results of the December meeting can be found here. Additionally, here are a couple of quick notes of interest: This month, the third of four approved water/sewer rate increases will take effect. I am convinced that these excessive increases could … Continue reading January City Council Update/School Security Update

Manufactured Crisis: A Joint Venture After All?

In order to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the recent school system fiasco, I’d like to expound upon my characterization of it as a “manufactured crisis.” I will first provide a brief summary and then, for those who are interested in the details, I will elaborate. I will conclude with my suggestion for … Continue reading Manufactured Crisis: A Joint Venture After All?

THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 9/17/13 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY – MOE/High School Debt

The following represents an unofficial account of the single item discussed and voted upon during the September 17,  2013 City Council Special Called Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website, most likely, as part of the … Continue reading THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 9/17/13 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY – MOE/High School Debt

The School Resource Officer MOU Has Been Signed!

***Post updated with MOU and Press Release Attached*** Click on the following: MOU Press Release Final SRO MOU Final 8 7 13 SignedCopy Excellent news! The School Resource Officer agreement (aka MOU) between the ORPD and the OR Schools has been signed! Thanks to all who made it happen, especially Chief Akagi and Superintendent Borchers! … Continue reading The School Resource Officer MOU Has Been Signed!

Report on the KPD Anti-Bullying Summit/Update on School Safety Efforts

The following was sent to all of city council and the board of education: All - I recently attended the anti-bullying summit hosted by the Safety Education Unit of the Knoxville Police Department. Their goal was to educate and encourage ways to strategize action plans to reduce bullying behavior. It was attended by over 700 … Continue reading Report on the KPD Anti-Bullying Summit/Update on School Safety Efforts

My Communications with Dr. Borchers RE: School Safety Issues

If you are one of the parents, school staff or students, past or present, that has experienced the problems I’ve referenced here, please contact Russel Langley at russl68@gmail.com From: BRUCE BORCHERS [btborchers@ortn.edu] Sent: Wednesday, July 03, 2013 11:39 AM To: Baughn, Trina Cc: City Council; Akagi James T.; Angi Agle; Dan DiGregorio ; Bob Eby; Jenny Richter; Keys Fillauer Subject: Invitation … Continue reading My Communications with Dr. Borchers RE: School Safety Issues

Oak Ridge Observer Article on ORS Police Interference

In addition to running my letter, the Oak Ridge Observer ran the following: http://oakridgedailyhoot.com/2013/07/03/schools-impeding-orpd-city-says/ “Everything they do is useless and possibly damaging to the prosecution in a criminal case,” Akagi said regarding evidence and statements. Also Watson has not had time to respond to the question why no ORS officials were arrested for obstruction of … Continue reading Oak Ridge Observer Article on ORS Police Interference

Open Letter to Dr. Bruce Borchers, Oak Ridge Superintendent: Protect Our Students and Teachers

I will post the referenced materials (the memo from the chief of police, the FERPA communications and documentation on the ousted principal) shortly. If you are one of the parents, school staff or students, past or present, that has experienced the problems I've referenced, please contact  Russel Langley at russl68@gmail.com.  ---------------------------------------------------- Dr. Borchers, Shortly after the … Continue reading Open Letter to Dr. Bruce Borchers, Oak Ridge Superintendent: Protect Our Students and Teachers

July 8th Agenda/Updates —— Mall/Land Bank/Sign Ordinance

Hello! I hope you are all having a wonderful summer! Here are the highlights of current council activities: Monday night we will hold our regular monthly meeting. The complete agenda can be found here. The significant items are as follows and you can see my questions/concerns to our city manager in the email pasted at … Continue reading July 8th Agenda/Updates —— Mall/Land Bank/Sign Ordinance

Implications of being a “High Performing School District?”

From: Trina Baughn Sent: Monday, May 27, 2013 8:51 PM To: Ms. Agle; Ms. Richter; Mr. DiGrigorio; Mr. Fillauer; Mr. Eby; Robert J. Smallridge Cc: ccouncil@oakridgetn.gov; Watson, Mark; Krushenski, Ken Subject: "High Performing School District" Request to Defer Oak Ridge Board of Education: Your agenda for your meeting scheduled for 5:30 tomorrow night contains an … Continue reading Implications of being a “High Performing School District?”

A Question of Transparency

***Updated Post with BOE responses*** From: Trina Baughn Sent: Friday, September 14, 2012 4:09 PM To: 'Mr. DiGrigorio'; 'Mr. Eby'; 'Mr. Fillauer'; 'Ms. Agle'; 'Ms. Richter' Subject: Oak Ridge Schools Policy Change to Ban Televised Media - Meeting Minutes/Vote/Information Request Members of the Oak Ridge Board of Education: I was contacted by a concerned citizen … Continue reading A Question of Transparency

Do YOU Own a $38,832 Car? Parting Gift for the Super?

6/22/2012 Email to Oak Ridge City Council Council – Please see this agenda for the Oak Ridge Schools BOE meeting scheduled for Monday night. In it, you will find on page 36 an FY13 budget amendment to adjust for council’s decision last month. Of greater concern to me, are two other items. First, on page … Continue reading Do YOU Own a $38,832 Car? Parting Gift for the Super?

Capital Spending Sources – Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmm?

The following information supports my claims from my column this week. I will publish the column in its entirety here on Friday, but here is a summary: Oak Ridge city government will use $10 million more of your money for the high school project to cover what the schools are withholding while they (the city) … Continue reading Capital Spending Sources – Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmm?

More of the Same – Column Update, Contact Info and City Manager Letter & Resolution

NOTE:  The email from the city manager as well as his proposed resolution that I referenced are included at the end of this post. A majority of council have indicated that they will not approve the resolution that I referenced in the following column/post. This begs the question: Now what? Council should absolutely stand their … Continue reading More of the Same – Column Update, Contact Info and City Manager Letter & Resolution

Strike 3!

Tonight for a third time, City Council was faced with a resolution to approve a $900K increase to the schools' 2012 budget. The administration appropriated this additional money PRIOR to receiving legal approval by council, some 9 months after council first declined a similar request. Though the mayor closed public comment on the agenda item, … Continue reading Strike 3!

Data? We Don’t Need No Stinking Data.

The Oak Ridge Observer ran an editorial last week entitled “Year-Round School, Take 2.” In short, the newspaper felt they'd jumped the gun in their earlier criticism of the Oak Ridge Schools administration and staff for not being more aggressive in providing the BOE with information on a potential year round school calendar for the … Continue reading Data? We Don’t Need No Stinking Data.

Bailey indicated that the diverted revenue would still go to the high school debt service:

Tom Bailey and John Smith are quoted as saying that they knew that the sales tax was still dedicated to the ORHS construction until that construction is paid off. I will have to scan the complete article in, but until then, here's the snippet from that article: Schools won't lose money? June 5, 2006 •• 350 words •• ID: … Continue reading Bailey indicated that the diverted revenue would still go to the high school debt service:

Recommended Adjustments to the OR BOE 2012 Budget

For the Oak Ridge schools' 2012 budget, the Board of Education is requesting a 7.32 percent increase in funds from the city, $1,059,171 more than last year.However, it is critical that we maintain, not increase, funding, given the serious state of our economy, our extremely high tax rate, and the overwhelming level of debt we … Continue reading Recommended Adjustments to the OR BOE 2012 Budget

Robertsville Middle School Safe Routes to School Project Meeting

Taken from the Oak Ridge Observer website: When: Thu, August 12, 1am – 2amWhere: City Central Services Complex - 100 Woodbury RoadDescription: The City Public Works Department will conduct a public meeting for citizens to review and provide comments on preliminary plans for a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program for Robertsville Middle School. In 2008, the City … Continue reading Robertsville Middle School Safe Routes to School Project Meeting

Screwing Over the Poor and Disabled Kids

So, here’s what happened. For whatever reason, the school administration has been hell bent on cutting the a.m. transportation to the preschool (our head start program that services the most disadvantaged children in our community). When they tried it last year, as I discussed here, they claimed that it was to increase instructional time. The … Continue reading Screwing Over the Poor and Disabled Kids

Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee Takes Action

While the wailing and gnashing of teeth continues over the RLCs, there are some people focused on moving forward with the real work of protecting pedestrians and bicyclists alike.According to this article, members of the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee held a forum this week to discuss "ensuring safety for all who want to bicycle or … Continue reading Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee Takes Action

A Not-so-Quick Update on Proposed Transportation Cuts

On April 20th, the ORSB passed their FY2010 budget. Of major note, they eliminated the originally proposed cuts of 6 TAs and transportation for a.m. preschool riders and the alternative school students. We actively pursued these reinstatements as discussed here and here and here. These were major victories for our children and our schools, but … Continue reading A Not-so-Quick Update on Proposed Transportation Cuts

Proposal for the ORSB FY2010 Budget Adjustments

I submitted the following to the ORSB this evening. The formatting isn't as pretty as it should be, but it's been a very long day, so this is what you get.------------------------------------RECOMMENDATIONS Propose that all staff be afforded a 1% pay raise in lieu of a step increase and that the school system forego the $135,000 … Continue reading Proposal for the ORSB FY2010 Budget Adjustments

Robertsville/Illinois Crossing Guard Status

FYI. I'll post updates as responses are received. From: Trina baughn Sent: Friday, April 03, 2009 14:45Subject: Crossing Guard Status @ RMSChief Beams,I have not seen a crossing guard at the Robertsville/Illinois intersection for weeks now. This intersection remains heavily trafficked by both high school and middle school students from what I understand. Can you … Continue reading Robertsville/Illinois Crossing Guard Status

Free DNA LifePrint Child Safety Event in Oak Ridge March 28th

This is a John Walsh sponsored event that will take place on March 28th from 9:30-2:00 at Oak Ridge Chrysler Dodge Jeep Superstore @ 1005 OR Turnpike. Contact Howard Elliot at 482-7670 for further information. I would strongly advise doing so before going as there is no mention of appointments on the flyer I received.According … Continue reading Free DNA LifePrint Child Safety Event in Oak Ridge March 28th

"A Matter of Safety"

Following is the link to the article in "The Oak Ridger" about the vest donation. http://www.oakridger.com/localnews/x185286155/A-matter-of-safetyWe enjoyed meeting with City Officials: Mayor Pro-temp Jane Miller, Chief Beams and Deputy Chief Massengill and the Crossing Guards who came also. We would like to express our continued gratitude to all of the Crossing Guards who serve our … Continue reading "A Matter of Safety"

New Vests Provided to Crossing Guards

Along with Mayor Pro Tem Miller, Chief Beams, and CPT Massengill, we presented new, LED lit vests to some of our crossing guards this afternoon. Thanks to all who contributed funds and special thanks to Michelle Doka for acquiring the vests and coordinating today's presentation!*****Also note that a detailed summary of potential solutions and progress … Continue reading New Vests Provided to Crossing Guards

City Council Response to HS/Civic Center Crossing Issues

At last night’s city council meeting, the city manager and council provided an update on the issues that citizens have voiced concerns about regarding the ORHS/Civic Center crosswalk. Mr. O’Connor explained that he met this past Friday with the ORSB chair, Mr. Smith and with the ORS Superintendent, Dr. Bailey. Corrective actions are as follows:1. … Continue reading City Council Response to HS/Civic Center Crossing Issues

LTEs/Gov’t Correspondence RE: High School/Civic Center Crossing

The following was submitted to the city and copied to the school board on 10-6-08 and ran in the Oak Ridger (along with another letter) on 10-15-08.All: In an effort to heighten public awareness, the following has also been submitted to the Oak Ridger. Though addressed directly to the city, any and all feedback is … Continue reading LTEs/Gov’t Correspondence RE: High School/Civic Center Crossing

Key to Retention – Let Them Know They Are Appreciated!

It is time again to let our Crossing Guards know how much we appreciate their services to Oak Ridge students. We are currently collecting baked goods, hand warmers, hot drink packets, lip balm, etc… to give to them. We are also having the students who use their services sign Thank you cards to give to … Continue reading Key to Retention – Let Them Know They Are Appreciated!

School Resumes City-Wide Tomorrow

The 2008/2009 school year in Oak Ridge fully resumes tomorrow and, thankfully, our children will have safer travels to and from school than they did just a year ago. Equal access to transportation for all students, crossing guards, better street markings and signage, and more attentive motorists will undoubtedly result in the risk reduction for … Continue reading School Resumes City-Wide Tomorrow

Safety for Oak Ridge Students (SOS) Fund

Some significant accomplishments have been made thus far, but there is still much to be done. One group of Robertsville parents is working towards hiring an independent engineer to conduct a safety survey of the Illinois Ave/OR Turnpike area to fully identify all potential dangers and to recommend improvement measures. They are hoping to raise … Continue reading Safety for Oak Ridge Students (SOS) Fund

Contact Your State Representatives Today!

Rep Hackworth and Sen. McNally (with the help of Bill Nolan and the state attorney) have worked hard to effect change for our children via the proposed legislation outlined below. If passed, these bills will have significant potential for improving the safety of not only our children, but pedestrians throughout the state of Tennessee. In … Continue reading Contact Your State Representatives Today!

Exciting Developments for February!

There have been some great developments in our town as of late. Tomorrow, 5 new crossing guards will begin working which will bring the total to 7. The new additions will be positioned at the following locations:(2) Illinois and ORTP(1) Robertsville and Illinois Ave(1) Jefferson Ave and Robertsville Rd(1) Fairbanks- for JeffersonYou'll most likely see … Continue reading Exciting Developments for February!

Proposed Solutions for Providing Equal Opportunity Access to Transportation for all City of Oak Ridge Students

The following was presented to the ORSB last night. They gave no indication of being willing to explore any transportation options until April and no desire to provide additional transportation options until next school year. Proposed Solutions for Providing Equal Opportunity Access to Transportation for all City of Oak Ridge Students By Trina Baughn January … Continue reading Proposed Solutions for Providing Equal Opportunity Access to Transportation for all City of Oak Ridge Students