Obamacare forces Tennessee school district to shut down

By Daniel Chaitin (@danielchaitin7)

A school district in Tennessee is blaming Obamacare for its decision to shut its doors.

In an AP report, Clay County Director of Schools Jerry Strong said the school board made its decision to cancel classes because of budget issues that are related to government mandates that the district can’t afford. He said the Affordable Care Act was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” and that “it has made it very difficult for us to have our employees properly covered and meet the mandates of the law.”

County Commissioner Parrish Wright said the county does have enough money to operate classes in the county’s three schools until the end of the year, but not far into the next, so the board chose to deal with the issue sooner than later.

The district is seeking out other ways of raising revenue, including a tax increase. But Strong said a tax hike seems to be out of the question.

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

In the meantime, 1,150 students will be out of class until further notice. Districts in Tennessee are required to conduct classes 180 days a year.

According to the Clay County School’s website, there were 65 schools located throughout the county in 1920. That number has since dwindled to three, while the student population has decreased to a third of its 1914 level at 3,035 students.

On Wednesday, the state of Tennessee announced that it would be shuttering its Obamacare-funded co-op, becoming the sixth state to do so.


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