Teachers react to Knox County Schools proposed budget plan

Teachers react to Knox County Schools proposed budget plan

Posted:
"I don't feel like the budget can address all the needs. There's only so much money," said Knox County teacher Donna Klarich. "I don't feel like the budget can address all the needs. There's only so much money," said Knox County teacher Donna Klarich.
"They already have enough students to take care of and help to get to college. I think if you cut positions, that's just going to make it even worse and kids are just going to fall through the cracks," parent Jennifer Nagel said. "They already have enough students to take care of and help to get to college. I think if you cut positions, that's just going to make it even worse and kids are just going to fall through the cracks," parent Jennifer Nagel said.

By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Next year's proposed budget for Knox County Schools calls for a raise in teacher salaries, but also some program cuts and eliminating a few positions.

The total proposed budget for the 2014-2015 school year is up about three percent from this year.

If all estimated revenue comes through, the budget calls for a 3 percent raise for teachers. If not, the raise would be 1.7 percent.

"For a city this large, we're paid pretty low," said teacher Dave Gorman.

Another priority in the budget is the new Career Magnet Academy, set to open this fall.

In a memo to the Board of Education, superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre writes, "revenue growth in FY15 is expected to be limited, creating significant budgetary pressures."

To deal with these pressures, McIntyre suggests several cuts, including the reduction through attrition of 12 custodial positions, eliminating several hundred thousand dollars from the central office budget, reducing after school tutoring, cutting Project GRAD by 15 percent, and reducing the contract length for some assistant principal positions.

These cuts don't sit well with Gorman.

"I don't understand why we would think the place to balance a budget would be on the backs of some of the hardest working people in the system. People who work hard for very little pay, and who are dedicated and are important parts of their school family. It doesn't make sense to me," Gorman said.

Parent Jennifer Nagel says the cuts are a big mistake.

"They already have enough students to take care of and help to get to college. I think if you cut positions, that's just going to make it even worse and kids are just going to fall through the cracks," Nagel said.

Tanya Coats, president of the Knox County Education Association, encourages teachers to voice their opinions and offer suggestions for the budget plan.

"When we make these cuts, we're not only hurting the students, we're hurting our family and we're hurting our community," Coats said.

Teacher Donna Klarich says she feels teachers are being overworked and underpaid.

"They need to really get in there and take a look at what individual teachers are dealing with in individual schools to really know what the needs are. I don't feel like the budget can address all the needs. There's only so much money," Klarich says.

The Board of Education will take a look at this budget during a work session Monday at 5 p.m.

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