Steve Barnett, the superintendent of city schools, recommended the 2019-20 budget from three possible scenarios. He told board members his choice also includes step increases, as well as funding for budget requests totaling $640,346.
The school budget now goes to the City Commission for debate.
Board Member Kathy Hall told her colleagues it has been the policy of the school system to attract “top teachers to the classrooms.” To do that, she said, Johnson City schools must continue to be among the top 10 districts for teacher pay in Tennessee.
“We are one of the top school systems in the state as a result of our investment in teachers,” Hall said.
Other budget scenarios the Board of Education could have considered were:
• $1,668,367 in additional revenue to cover a 3% pay raise, step increases and recommended budget requests.
• $624,367 to cover budget requests and pay for 1% pay raises and step increases.
Another option for school officials to consider if additional revenue is not found includes funding a number of non-recurring items from the fund balance. School budget officials also said cutting $631,576 from the spending would cover the cost of 1% pay increases and step raises.
In other business, the Board of Education heard an update on the Liberty Bell gym and cafeteria project. The 350-seat cafeteria is a key component of the school system’s plan to change the configuration of Indian Trail Intermediate School and Liberty Bell Middle School into two new middle schools for grades 5-6.
The city’s Building Department has completed its review of the project’s plans, and the construction company has been issued a building permit. Footers have been laid out and should be completed by the end of May.
Work on the $9.6 million construction portion of the $11 million project is expected to be completed by June 2020.