The Knox County Board of Education has decided to postpone a vote Wednesday night on a proposed budget that has gotten a lot of attention over the last few days from parents and teachers.
Board member Terry Hill recommended postponing the vote during Wednesday night’s school board meeting, citing several reasons, including questions about a mandated $1 million contribution to retirement pensions, and questions about state funding.
“I’m hopeful that we can get some relief and it will allow the board to take a look at all of the needs out there,” said Hill. “I’m not going to pinpoint one over the other because as you’ve heard tonight there are many.”
The motion passed unanimously and the vote will now be held at a special called meeting before a regularly scheduled workshop on April 30.
“I just recognize that delay does not mean victory and that people in the community that are going to be affected need to still show up and ensure that their voices are being heard,” said Quineka Moten, mom of a Green Magnet Academy student.
The school board discussed the proposal Monday night at a meeting that lasted for more than seven hours. So many people showed up to voice their opinions that many had to stand outside the building.
Project GRAD provided the following statement: “The Great Schools Partnership and Project GRAD thank the Knox County School Board for delaying its vote tonight on the FY 2018 budget to allow time for the district to explore additional funding possibilities. We’re confident in the school board’s commitment to meeting the needs of ALL students, including the specific needs of children in Knox County’s most vulnerable communities. Our hope is that board members will take this time to learn more about the positive results of the Project GRAD program and include full funding for Project GRAD when they return to vote on April 30.”
Superintendent Bob Thomas says next year’s budget is more than $2 million over. To make up for that, the plan includes cuts to programs like Project Grad and suspends magnet programs at Sarah Moore Greene and Green Magnet Academy.