Johnson City Press Friday, April 25, 2014

Education

County school board OKs budget that’s $3.4 million in red

April 16th, 2013 2:21 pm by Madison Mathews

County school board OKs budget that’s $3.4 million in red

The Washington County Board of Education on Monday unanimously voted to accept the 2013-14 school year budget, which is more than $3.4 million out of balance.
During the special called meeting, the board asked Director of Schools Ron Dykes to take the more than $63 million budget as is to the County Commission, while also asking commissioners to reimburse Washington County Schools for this year’s purchase of buses and capital projects completed at Fall Branch and Boones Creek elementaries.
The reimbursement request alone totals $898,685 — $497,685 for the buses and $401,000 for the capital projects at both elementary schools.
Needs for next year that were not included in the budget include a testing coordinator, a driver’s education instructor at Daniel Boone High School, an increase of about $200,000 for English-language arts at the middle school level system-wide and summer school.
At this point, Dykes said the system will not have the funding in place to hold summer school after school lets out in May 2014.
In order to continue summer school, Dykes said the system would need an additional $170,000.
“It would help tremendously if we could receive some support from the commission on reimbursement for our capital projects during this school year and the bus purchases that we made this school year,” he said.
One of the needs that the board chose to add to the budget was for seven vehicles: three trucks and four vans that will be added to the system’s fleet, totaling about $70,000.
Board member Mary Lo Silvers motioned for the vehicles to be added to the budget before making another motion for Dykes to present the budget to commissioners.
“These are real, real needs for the school system and it doesn’t seem to me like it would hurt to ask and let know that we need this amount of money. They might say no, but then again, they might say yes,” she said.
If the budget is not approved by the commission, the school board will be forced to make cuts that will affect both personnel and the classroom.
Dykes said potential cuts could be made in technology, maintenance, athletics, arts and staff, including nurses and instructional assistants.
“It’s that same list you keep looking at every single year and keep reminding the County Commission on every single year. It’s the same list we’ve cut every single year,” he said.

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