Commissioners and school board members discuss Knox County budge

Commissioners and school board members discuss Knox County budget

6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knox County Commission and the Knox County Board of Education held a joint work session Tuesday to discuss the county budget.

Last week, the county learned the state is reducing the county’s BOE funding by $2.9 million. Mayor Tim Burchett’s revised budget proposal now deducts that money from the schools' budget.

Discussion topics included teacher pay, public trust within the district and the percentage the schools’ budget accounts for in the overall budget.

“One of the problems that we have is that we don’t pay our teachers enough,” Knox County Commissioner Amy Broyles said. “We all know it’s not going to happen without some sort of tax increase.”

Commissioner Mike Hammond said the Board of Education needs to be specific when informing the public about how the money will be spent.

Commissioners Mike Brown and Sam McKenzie said they believe an increase in pay should go to the classroom teachers and not the higher paid administrators in the school district.

“The folks that need it the most are the classroom teachers,” McKenzie said.

Commissioner Tony Norman admitted to having a bias as a former teacher, but said he strongly believes “there’s much too little perspective taken from the teachers’ view.”

“This year is historic,” Norman said. “Everybody can attest to that.”

Board of Education chair Lynne Fugate said while progress has been made, there is still more that needs to be done to repair ties.

“As painful as this was, all this education reform, we will have a better schools system for what we went through this year,” Fugate said.

“Ya’ll are going to have to show us you can be trusted to do the things you say you will,” Brown said to the Board of Education.

County Commission appropriates the funds for the BOE but it does not have the authority to tell the school board how to spend the money.

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