Blount County Schools approve employment cuts in 2013-2014 budge

Blount County Schools approve employment cuts in 2013-2014 budget

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After almost two hours of discussion, the Blount County School Board approved the budget for the 2013-2014 school year during Thursday's meeting. After almost two hours of discussion, the Blount County School Board approved the budget for the 2013-2014 school year during Thursday's meeting.

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) -  After almost two hours of discussion, the Blount County School Board approved the budget for the 2013-2014 school year during Thursday's meeting.

The school district has a budget next year totaling $81 million, which is roughly $1.6 million less than the board had this year.

The district was hoping to see up to $2.5 million more in revenue generated from a wheel tax, but it was voted down in a referendum earlier this month.

"It certainly would have been a step forward as opposed to now we're having to take a rather large step backward," Blount County Director of Schools Rob Britt said.

More than 20 teachers and almost 50 part-time teaching assistants will be cut along with a guidance counselor, assistant principal and two custodians.

The district is also cutting new funds for textbooks, library books and new technology.

"In five, ten or fifteen years there's no way that our children can appreciate the budgets and the priorities that our community has placed on education," Blount County School Board Member Trevis Gardner said.

Gardner voted against the budget, saying the cuts are too detrimental for the students.

The board did approve an amendment that would save 42 teaching assistants from being laid off, but it's contingent upon county commission approval because the money will in part be coming from increased projected sales tax revenue.

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