Knox County Mayor says school district is ‘playing politics’ wit

Knox County Mayor says school district is ‘playing politics’ with budget request

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"It's accounting 101," Burchett said. "You cannot use one time money for on-going expenses. It would be like me or you renting an apartment and going to the bank and borrowing money." "It's accounting 101," Burchett said. "You cannot use one time money for on-going expenses. It would be like me or you renting an apartment and going to the bank and borrowing money."
"It would be a great conversation about how do we stretch? How do we identify those additional resources to be able to make these raises for our teachers happen because we really want to recognize them for their outstanding work with children," McIntyre s "It would be a great conversation about how do we stretch? How do we identify those additional resources to be able to make these raises for our teachers happen because we really want to recognize them for their outstanding work with children," McIntyre s

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett said the county does not have enough money to pay for the additional funding request by the Knox County Board of Education, saying the district is "playing politics with the numbers."

Monday night, the BOE approved a roughly $432 million budget that includes a 2.5 percent raise for teachers. The proposal requests an additional 4.5 million in funding from county commission.

Burchett said the problem with the school board's request is the source of the funding and said if granted, the money would have to come from the county's general fund balance or in the form of a tax increase . Burchett said neither of those options are happening under his budget proposal.

"It's accounting 101," Burchett said. "You cannot use one time money for on-going expenses. It would be like me or you renting an apartment and going to the bank and borrowing money."

Burchett said the BOE's request would be a one time expense but teacher pay is actually a reoccurring expense.

"I've met with Dr. McIntyre and our financial team," Burchett said. "We meet regularly and they know what's going on and you got to realize it's an election year and honestly he has some school board members that are on the ropes and they are very supportive of him and his agenda and if they don't get elected."

6 News spoke with several Knox County Commissioners about the school board's budget proposal.

"If we see the sales taxes are increasing and the property taxes are increasing or that we get an unanticipated bonus through the BEP, which is another funding formula, then maybe we can look at midyear trying to give them more funding, particularly to the teachers who definitely need a pay raise," Knox County Commissioner Richard Briggs said.

Knox County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jim McIntyre said he believes the BOE's request was reasonable and plans to further discuss the proposal with the county.

"It would be a great conversation about how do we stretch? How do we identify those additional resources to be able to make these raises for our teachers happen because we really want to recognize them for their outstanding work with children," McIntyre said.

Burchett said he too supports teachers but believes the money should come from the school district's budget.

"I'd say take it out of the $427 million they already have," Burchett said. "Out of their huge budget, they could find the three percent to give the pay raises instead of asking us to inflict a tax increase on the population."

Commissioners Shouse, Brown and Norman said they do not support giving one-time funds to the school district to cover a reoccurring expense.

Commissioners Broyles and Hammond said they are still reviewing the proposal.

Commissioners Smith and Anders said they are waiting on Burchett's budget proposal and the final revenue projections before making a final decision.

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