Public hearing held for revised Knox County budget

Public hearing held for revised Knox County budget

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knox County Commission held a public hearing Monday to discuss Mayor Tim Burchett's revised budget proposal.

The changes to the budget are a result of the state cutting basic education program (BEP) funding for schools.

Previous story: Knox County Schools to receive less state funding than projected

Burchett initially presented an overall budget of $729,914,278. The new overall budget will be $727,014,278.

The only department seeing a cut from the original proposal is the Knox County school system, which will receive $2.9 million less because of the BEP changes.

Gov. Bill Haslam told 6 News last week the changes are a result of a BEP funding formula adjustment.

"I think they changed the personal income percentage part of the formula which I think impacted three or four schools so the state and the Department of Education, we're responsible for implementing it," Haslam said.

"I actually agree with those folks who say that it's put commission and the school board in a bad position,” Haslam said. “I'm not sure why TACIR just came out with the new formula. When I asked them they said, ‘Well, we're re-figuring the personal income piece of that.’ Those statistics just became available to us."

Executive Director for the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, Lynnisse Roehrich-Patrick, told 6 News TACIR and the University of Tennessee Center for Businesses and Economic Research are responsible for developing calculations to show how much local government can give towards BEP funding. The calculations are given as percentages.

Roehrich-Patrick said the Tennessee Department of Education then uses those calculations to determine the final BEP funding amounts for each area.

Three educators spoke during the public forum portion of the hearing.

The speakers suggested that Knox County is not competitive enough when it comes to teacher pay, saying commissioners should consider a property tax increase in order to invest more in education.

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