Knox County Schools superintendent discusses budget proposal

Knox County Schools superintendent discusses budget proposal

Dr. Jim McIntyre Dr. Jim McIntyre

6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre asked the Knox County School Board Monday night for a three percent budget increase, amounting to $13 million in additional funds.

More than half of that would go to increase teacher salaries. Teacher pay is the big headline of this year's Knox County school budget. McIntyre is requesting a three percent increase in teacher salaries.

"We're 35th in the state of Tennessee in terms of teacher salaries, and that's not where we want to be. We want to make sure were recognizing the great work our teachers are doing with our students, recognizing the great academic progress we're making and compensating our teachers accordingly," he said.

Dr. McIntyre is proposing a $433.7 million budget for fiscal year 2015. It's an increase of almost three and a half percent from last year. Revenue is expected to be limited, but Dr. McIntyre is asking for $3.3 million over that expected revenue.

"What we've simply done with this year's budget proposal is to recognize the importance of having a competitive level of compensation for our teachers. and recognizing it may require a little bit of a stretch on the part of our community and on the part of our funding body to make that happen," said Dr. McIntyre.

The budget also outlines a $2 million request for continued funding for the new Career Magnet Academy, but it does come with some cuts, including the elimination of 12 custodial positions hopefully through attrition, a 15 percent cut to Project Grad and some cuts to the central office budget.

"This is a budget that certainly has some pain points. We have limited revenue, in particular in projections of next year. We have an expected zero percent increase in sales tax, so budget to budget, we're not forecasting any increase. So it makes for a tight budget, it makes for a lean budget," said Dr. McIntyre.

Monday night's meeting was just for discussion. A community forum is scheduled on April 8 with a called meeting to vote on April 14.

Governor Bill Haslam says he won't be able to give teachers or other state employees a pay raise next year. Talking with reporters in Nashville, he says it's because of a drop in tax revenues collections.

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