Parents respond to Oak Ridge Schools budget proposal

Parents respond to Oak Ridge Schools budget proposal

Posted:
Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Dr. Bruce Borchers revealed to board members Wednesday that the district will need more money to stay afloat. Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Dr. Bruce Borchers revealed to board members Wednesday that the district will need more money to stay afloat.
By CAMERON TAYLOR
6 News Reporter

OAK RIDGE (WATE) - Some property owners in Anderson County could be paying more taxes soon to fund schools in the area. Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Dr. Bruce Borchers revealed to board members Wednesday that the district will need more money to stay afloat.  

District officials are proposing taxpayers in Oak Ridge foot the bill. Tonight we're hearing from parents about the proposal.  

6 News talked to several parents Friday afternoon and heard mixed opinions about the superintendent's budget proposal. Some say they don't mind the property tax increase, but others say they can barely pay their bills.

Christy Shelton has five children and one on the way. Three of them attend school in Oak Ridge and she can't imagine paying more in property taxes. 

"We're living paycheck to paycheck, just barely making ends meet. It's very hard not to be able to give your kids what you need to give them," said Christy Shelton, an Oak Ridge parent.

In his budget proposal for fiscal year 2015, Superintendent Dr. Bruce Borchers revealed schools will need more money from parents like Shelton.


The reasons for that include higher costs of transportation, salaries, and school supplies. Dr. Borchers' recommendation offers three options for board members.


The first would ask residents to pay 14 cents more in property taxes or about $3 a month for a home worth $100,000. The option would lose students and teachers.

The second, which Borchers supports, would retain school operations and asks taxpayers for 42 cents and would cost property owners about $9 a month.


The most expensive option, which would attract students and teachers, suggests a 57 cent increase costing residents on average about $12 a month. Without some sort of increase, it could mean larger class sizes, less teacher assistants, and cuts to programs. 

More online: Oak Ridge Schools Budget Proposal

The idea doesn't sit well with Kristin Miner who relies heavily on special needs programs for her son. 


"It's hard for kids to adjust to different teachers every year. They like to keep the constant teachers, people they know, how they act. It's hard to adjust to somebody they don't know," said Miner, another Oak Ridge parent.

For Miner, she's willing to find the money to support the possible tax increase.

"We'll make it work as long as we keep our teachers, keep their education going that way they can work with other special needs kids. Help our students, our classrooms, supplies, everything. We'll work it." 

Others like Shelton believe there aren't any problems with the current system.

"I just think that if it's not broke, don't fix it. I think everything's going good now," said Shelton.

Board members will be continuing their budget talks next Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at a special board of education meeting.

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