Information from WYSH Radio
As the budget process begins in earnest for the new fiscal year that begins on July 1, the Anderson County school system is seeking money to pay for employee raises, upgrades to school facilities, and to start a fund to pay for computer devices for each student beginning in the upcoming academic year.
The budget proposal recently approved by the Anderson County Board of Education is currently about $3.1 million out of balance, and in order to fully fund requests, it would require the equivalent of a 45-cent increase in the property tax rate. Included in the request to the County Commission is roughly $2 million to fund 4 percent pay raises for all employees; $871,852 for capital projects like roof repairs and unfunded mandates from the state dealing with physical education and sports facilities; and $221,484 for textbooks.
The most ambitious request, though, is the creation of a reserve fund through the county government to set aside money to pay for computer devices for students similar to the reserve fund that has been set aside for industrial development. Part of the reasoning for that request includes the fact that there is now more online state testing where such devices would be useful as well as “allow(ing) teachers to better personalize and differentiate their instruction, and enable educators to continuously and seamlessly adapt their teaching to meet the diverse needs of their students.”
That proposal would cost approximately $890,000—the equivalent of 10-cent tax increase.
The other requests in the school budget would require a 35.5-cent property tax hike.
Across the street at the Anderson County Courthouse, the current general fund budget, as submitted, is currently about $2.5 million out of balance as is often the case at this point in the process as department heads present their most optimistic requests. The numbers for both the school and general fund budgets will change as budget deliberations continue.
This week will be a busy one for county leaders as the budget committee will hold a workshop on Tuesday, May 5, at 5 p.m. and meet again Thursday, May 7, at 5 p.m.
A public hearing for the Fiscal Year 2015-16 budget will be held on Thursday, May 28, at 6 p.m. All of those meetings will take place in Room 312 of the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton.
The next fiscal year starts July 1.
Information in this story brought to you through an agreement between Oak Ridge Today and WYSH. See more local news headlines on the WYSH website at http://www.wyshradio.com/local_news.html.