Wednesday, May 14, 2014

County budget facing $3 million hit; school system could experience cuts

The Knox County School system will get $2.9 million less than it initially expected in state funding, according to new estimates.

That now means Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett has to either revise his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year or find more money to fill the gap.

He said Wednesday that his staff is looking over the numbers and didn’t elaborate. In the past, he has said the county would fund only a revenue-neutral budget for the school system.

According to new estimates, funding from the Basic Education Program dropped $2.9 million because of lower than expected revenues to an overall $176.67 million.

Other school system also will see a decrease.

State BEP funding along with revenues from property and sales taxes make up the brunt of the school system’s budget.

This year, Burchett proposed an overall $730 million spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year, which included $427.8 million to cover the school system’s portion.

That could now change.

“The mayor will propose an amendment and we’ll have to figure it out from there,” Knox County 

Commission Chairman Brad Anders said. “To add back the money you will need a revenue source and we don’t know where that revenue source would be until we have more discussions.”

The Knox County Commission on Monday will talk about the mayor’s budget. The school board and the commission will also hold a joint work session on Tuesday to talk more about it.

The school system already was already expected to ask the commission to increase the mayor’s spending plan by additional $4.55 million, which they initially requested to cover a 1.8 percent raise for teachers.

The commission will vote on the overall plan on May 27.

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