Cash-strapped schools in Tennessee close due to Obamacare

SchoolCrossing

A school district in Tennessee is shutting classroom doors because of the added costs of Obamacare.

Jerry Strong, the Clay County Director of Schools, told the Associated Press,

“the Affordable Care Act… has made it very difficult for us to have our employees properly covered and meet the mandates of the law.” The school district was already struggling with their budget, “struggling with budget concerns for three years.”

Strong said, “Clay County’s inability to generate the revenue to offset the mandates is what’s caused this to come to a head.” The commission, “declined to increase property taxes.” Taxes are already high in Clay County.

“This is a poor, rural county and we already have the seventh-highest property tax rate in the whole state of Tennessee,” he said. “Our property taxes, they’re high enough.”

Unfortunately, “1,150 students will be out of class until further notice.” Strong said, “The choice was to either close schools and deal with this now or keep schools open and spend ourselves until we have nothing in our fund balance at all.”

County Commissioner Parrish Wright is also concerned about the impact on children and their parents.

“It’s going to hurt a lot of people,” Wright said about the decision to shut down the county’s three schools. With children at home, parents will have to find child care or stay home from work. “Either way it goes, Clay County has lost. Nobody’s won.”

Thanks to Obamacare, 1,150 students in the Volunteer State are without the education they need and deserve, and that taxpayers are paying for. How many other school districts in cash-strapped counties across the country will be forced to close?

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Kristina Ribali is the Senior Coalitions Director for the Foundation for Government Accountability. Follow Kristina on Twitter or reach her via email at [email protected]