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Anderson schools’ not-tax-increase budget proposal includes deep cuts across system

After the Anderson County Budget Committee rejected the school system’s request for $821,000 to balance its budget for the coming fiscal year, the School Board met Thursday to continue their discussion from last week.

As we reported last week, the Budget Committee rejected the school system’s request for the equivalent of five cents on the tax rate in new money to make up the shortfall while also giving employees pay raises and addressing capital project needs like a leaky roof at Andersonville Elementary School and several others.

Last night, Director of Schools Dr. Tim Parrott presented a balanced budget as requested by the county Budget Committee, that reflects what a budget with no additional money from the county might look like. The proposal adopted in a unanimous vote by the School Board on Thursday contains $807,000 in cuts, on top of $561,000 in cuts that had already been made, for a total of approximately $1.4 million in cuts. The budget proposal does include the two-percent pay raises that BOE members have made the centerpiece of its fiscal blueprint..

The proposed cuts are systemwide and include, but are not limited to: $200,000 that would have paid for a new gym at Grand Oaks Elementary School; $50,000 in high school band equipment; $240,000 cut in the form of a middle school teacher, a high school teacher, a full-time maintenance worker, and a full-time nurse, as well as special education assistant positions and custodial personnel. Also affected would be high school coaching supplements, school supply costs

The budget adopted by the School Board last night reflects the Board’s desire to let the Commission know that they will work with what they are given, and also complies with the request from the Budget Committee. In a year where a property tax increase already appears likely, with the lion’s share of it going to the Sheriff’s Department, School Board members expressed what can best be described as cautious optimism that a solution can be found in order to prevent these deep proposed cuts from having to be implemented.

Board members were united in their belief that the employee raises are an absolute necessity, and that addressing widespread capital project needs and drawing down debt should remain priorities.

Proposed budget cuts if no new money is provided by the County Commission (includes 2% pay raises for all school system employees):

  • A $200,000 cut in funding that would pay for a gym at Grand Oaks ES;
  • $50,000 in cuts to high school band equipment;
  • $50,000 cut by eliminating one middle school teaching position;
  • $50,000 cut by eliminating one high school teaching position;
  • $30,000 cut through eliminating one full-time maintenance position;
  • $30,000 cut through the elimination of a full-time nurse position;
  • $50,000 cut by eliminating one Technology position;
  • $50,000 cut by eliminating Special Education assistant positions;
  • $50,000 cut by eliminating custodial personnel;
  • $30,000 would be cut from high school coaching supplements;
  • $42,500 would be cut from the funding for school supplies;
  • $25,000 would be cut by not purchasing a new patrol car for the SRO program;
  • $35,000 would be cut from the Transportation fund for security cameras;
  • $25,000 would be cut from the budget for health services supplies and materials;
  • $15,000 would be cut from the gasoline budget;
  • $10,000 would be cut from the budget for Special Education instructional supplies;
  • $10,000 would be cut from the fund for maintaining athletic fields in Rocky Top;
  • $5000 would be cut for Health Services travel expenses;
  • $7000 would be cut out of the budget for regular instructional staff development;
  • $5000 would be cut from the budget for Career and Technical Education students’ travel, such as field trips;
  • $5000 in cuts would also be made to the budget for Technology instructional supplies
  • $5000 in cuts to BOE travel expenses;
  • $5000 would be cut by trimming two 120-day employee contracts by 20 days each;
  • $3000 would be cut from the Director of School’s travel budget;
  • $5000 would be cut from the budget for supplies and materials needed by the Director of Schools;
  • $5000 would be eliminated from the budget for other charges, including employee celebrations;
  • and $5000 each from the budgets for travel by school principals and for principal staff development would be cut.

The County Commission is expected to discuss the issue when it meets for its regular May session on Monday at 6:30 pm in room 312 of the Courthouse.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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