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Elizabethton schools ask for more local funding

John Thompson • Feb 18, 2019 at 11:27 PM

ELIZABETHTON — As one of its first actions in setting a budget for next school year, the Elizabethton City School Board asked for an additional $50,000 in city revenue.

The School Board is backing a request from Director of Schools Corey Gardenhour. He made the request in a letter to City Manager Daniel Estes. The letter was dated Monday. The letter said the additional funding was to “help meet security and technology needs.”

If the City Council agrees to fund the need, the annual amount donated by the city for local operating revenue would increase to $2,450,000. Increases in this amount are usually required to stay the same or more in following years as a requirement of the maintenance of effort for local funding bodies.

There are other anticipated increases in the 2019-20 budget, Gardenhour wrote in his letter to Estes, but the director of schools does not plan to meet those needs with local revenue.

“We plan to make necessary adjustments within our budget to cover increased salary and insurance costs with an anticipation of increased funding from the state,” Gardenhour said.

There were a few one-time requests for local funding in Gardenhour’s letter. He seeks $15,000 for a new intercom system at T.A. Dugger Jr. High School. There was also a one-time request for $20,000 for work on the entrances at East Side Elementary and Harold McCormick Elementary. That would bring the total for one-time local funding to $35,000.

Gardenhour also mentioned the school board’s proposal for work on T.A. Dugger Junior High School. “The project will greatly enhance the T.A. Dugger campus and meet the needs of our students,” he said.

Gardenhour said the school board would like to have the revenue from the half-cent local option sales tax committed to school capital outlay projects until all school bonds are repaid, currently set for June 30, 2034. That sales tax increase was approved several years ago in a referendum in which school supporters seeking revenue for school capital projects played an active role.

The school board unanimously approved Gardenhour’s letter on Monday night. Gardenhour was ill and was not able to attend the meeting.

The school board welcomed to the meeting the senior members of the Betsy Band, which has won state championships and marched at Walt Disney World and Neyland Stadium.

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