Reduced funding for Project GRAD could mean job cuts

Reduced funding for Knox County's Project GRAD could mean job cuts

Posted:
The Project GRAD Board of Directors met Thursday for their April meeting. The funding cuts were a topic of discussion. The Project GRAD Board of Directors met Thursday for their April meeting. The funding cuts were a topic of discussion.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A budget proposal to reduce funding for Project GRAD could mean job cuts for the program aimed at helping foster graduation rates for at-risk teens.

Knox County superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre proposed a 15 percent reduction in funding for the program in his FY15 budget.

The Project GRAD Board of Directors met Thursday for their April meeting. The funding cuts were a topic of discussion.

Executive director Jerry Hodges said the cuts leave them only two options.

"Our options are to cut staff or fill the gap," Hodges told the board, which includes several board of education members and Dr. McIntyre.

Hodges said the 15 percent cut, which translates to a reduction from $1.2 million to $1 million, would mean cutting between three and four jobs.

Vice Chair Gloria Deathridge hopes they can avoid the cuts.

"It means we have to make sure we still provide the same resources in the school. Jerry and his staff will go back and see if we can do some other things, not necessarily cut people because people are what we need in the building to provide those types of social services that are needed for the children," Deathridge said.

She was one of the many Board of Education members who spoke out against the cuts at Monday night's school board meeting.

Dr. Jim McIntyre said he is taking another look at his budget recommendations.

"Having been a board member on Project GRAD, having seen the work that's done, I agree with several of the board members that there's great work being done. The challenge is we've got a very tight budget this year and there are some tough choices to be made and some challenging tradeoffs that may be a part of this budget to make it all work," he said after Thursday's Project GRAD meeting.

Dr. McIntyre is still evaluating his budget and will present the final recommendations to the Board of Education on April 14.

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