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First look shows city school board's budget $2.2 million in hole

Madison Mathews • Mar 19, 2013 at 9:45 PM

The Johnson City Board of Education on Tuesday took its first crack at the 2013-14 school year budget just days ahead of a workshop scheduled with the City Commission.

Early projections show the school board will be about $2.2 million out of balance, and a number of positions and programs could be cut to meet the needs of the more than $60 million budget.

“It would be too early to give them final budget numbers, but we really want to have a discussion with them so we make sure they hear all of the information that we need them to hear,” Chairwoman Kathy Hall said of Thursday’s scheduled meeting with commissioners.

Needs for next year total more than $3.9 million, with one of the largest expenditures being $500,000 in technology upgrades. Other needs based on early projections include $14,000 for Schoolnet software, a salary increase totaling about $240,000, two special education teacher positions at $110,000 and a substitute teacher pay increase totaling about $79,000.

Additionally, the school board is trying to find funding to continue the safety program currently funded through the HEROES Grant, which funds two school resource officers.

To continue the program, the school board is looking at more than $768,000 in costs.

That doesn’t include the request made by the board in February to assign a school resource officer to every school in the system.

It would cost $133,684 to keep the two grant-funded SROs working in the system’s elementary schools. That does not include equipment costs.

The total cost to fund eight additional SROs is $640,144, with training and equipment expenses included.

A list of potential cuts to next year’s budget totals more than $1.3 million.

Potential cuts include eliminating several positions, waiting another year to purchase new textbooks, and closing Henry Johnson Alternative Learning Center, relocating Henry Johnson students to Liberty Bell Middle School and Science Hill High School.

The board will use the information from Thursday’s workshop as it formulates next year’s budget.

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