KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County Board of Education has approved a proposed $668.3 million budget for the upcoming year that includes pay raises for teachers and staff as well as more funding for academic and behavioral support staff.
The total budget has increased 13%, or $77 million, from 2023 Fiscal Year budget. Superintendent Dr. Jon Rysewyk said in a memorandum that the total budget was $12.8 million more than had been projected. He proposed adding most of the additional funds to a one-time capital investment to pay off debt and allow for more flexibility to address potential funding reductions in the future.
Following the board’s approval on Thursday, it will need to be approved by the Knox County Commission and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs.
It includes a 4% increase to the base salary of teachers and a 12% pay bump for custodians, educational assistants, and school clerical positions. Custodial staffing has been an ongoing issue in the county. A third-party custodial company was hired in January to help address the issue.
$1.3 million would be allocated to provide targeted support staff for Region 5 schools, aiming to improve academic performance and address some of the highest teacher turnover rates in the district.
Citing requests from principals for more behavioral and academic supports, the budget invests $4.7 million for additional school support positions like counselors, psychologists, interventionists, speech pathologists and social workers. Another $1.5 million would go toward a pilot program focused on elementary and middle school support that would add ten behavioral interventionists and ten academic interventionists.
With the recently-completed Mill Creek Elementary School in northwest Knox County set to welcome its first students this fall, more than $2 million was allocated to hire teachers and staff. The school aims to reduce overcrowding at Hardin Valley Elementary, Ball Camp Elementary and Karns Elementary.
Nearly $2 million would be spent on 24 new positions across the county- 16 elementary school teaching positions, two middle school teaching positions, five assistant administrators and a middle school counselor.
Click here to view the complete budget proposal. Questions about the budget can be sent to email@example.com.