Roane Co. Schools budget cuts could affect band, other groups

Roane Co. Schools budget cuts could affect band, other extracurriculars

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The award-winning Roane County High School Marching Band. The award-winning Roane County High School Marching Band.
"We seem to have adults who can't seem to get together and solve the problem, and we have students will lose out and they don't even know it," said band director Zack Williamson. "We seem to have adults who can't seem to get together and solve the problem, and we have students will lose out and they don't even know it," said band director Zack Williamson.
"What we looked is at two goals: the least effect on academic achievement, the least effect on personnel, making sure nobody would lose their jobs," said Superintendent Gary Aytes. "What we looked is at two goals: the least effect on academic achievement, the least effect on personnel, making sure nobody would lose their jobs," said Superintendent Gary Aytes.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KINGSTON (WATE) - The superintendent of Roane County Schools is talking about the impact of a budget shortfall after leaders rejected a property tax increase.

Superintendent Gary Aytes proposed a number of cuts to the Roane County Board of Education during a Monday work session.  

The board will make the final decision for the recommended cuts at its meeting on Thursday night.

To make up for the $1.5 million shortfall, Aytes is proposing cutting new textbooks, which could save around $500,000.

He's also proposing to cut funding to prepare for state-mandated online school testing for 2014-15 and funding for unexpected repairs for capital projects.

In addition, Aytes says he will propose reducing supplemental pay in half for personnel who help out with academic and athletic extracurricular activities.  

The award-winning Roane County High School Marching Band has been directed by Zack Williamson for 26 years.  

Williamson may see his pay cut by around $4,000 if academic and athletic supplemental pay are cut in half.  

Williamson receives a 14% supplemental payment to direct the band and teaches music classes at different schools in the county.

"We seem to have adults who can't seem to get together and solve the problem, and we have students will lose out and they don't even know it," said Williamson.

The move to reduce supplemental pay could affect around 100 school personnel who spend extra time to coach sports and oversee programs like the yearbook and drama club.

The school system estimates the measure would save around $220,000.  

Football head coaches receive the highest supplement of any personnel at 16.25% 

"What we looked is at two goals: the least effect on academic achievement, the least effect on personnel, making sure nobody would lose their jobs," said Aytes.  

While nobody may lose their job, belts will be tightened.  

Zack Williamson oversees a band budget of around $50,000, all of it coming from boosters and parents of the program. 

Booster members say they'll have to raise even more money to keep the program viable for its 220 student members.  

"Instead of buying those or new musical instruments, now we have to do fundraising to replace income," said marching band booster Ralph Grubb.  

The superintendent says he'll meet with school principals to come up with fundraising plans.   Aytes says six school resource officers would not be cut.

He also says there could be alternative plan that would keep Midtown Educational Center open.  

Aytes had proposed to board members that the school would close, which would save $364,000.

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