The Oak Ridge Board of Education will have a special meeting on Monday to consider approving $538,048 worth of one-time spending that was approved by the Oak Ridge City Council this past Monday (May 6).
If the Tennessee Department of Education agrees, the extra money, which had been requested by Oak Ridge Schools and the BOE, would not be part of the city’s annual “maintenance of effort” for the schools, a level of funding that can’t be reduced.
Most of the $538,048, or $425,000, would be used in the next fiscal year for principal and interest payments for a four-year technology lease that began in fiscal year 2016, the current fiscal year. That lease funded the purchase of convertible laptops for grade levels 5-8, supporting what is known as a 1:1 initiative and part of Access Oak Ridge.
The other $113,048 would be used for building improvements:
- $50,000 to replace underground hydronic piping at Oak Ridge High School,
- $25,000 to replace a grade level worth of lockers at Jefferson Middle School,
- $35,000 to repave a road at Robertsville Middle School, and
- $3,048 for a $25,000 project to repair the JMS elevator.
The $538,048 is equivalent to a one-time funding increase of 3.6 percent in school funding from the city. Oak Ridge Schools is expected to receive about 29.6 percent of its funding from the city. The schools also receive other revenues from county taxes, other local revenues, and state and federal funding.
A resolution to be considered by the BOE at 6 p.m. Monday says the additional money from the city this year would fund debt service payments and other related non-recurring capital project expenses. State law allows an exemption from maintenance of effort requirements for local governments to give money to education for non-recurring expenses, the resolution says.
There are no other items on the agenda for Monday’s meeting. The school board will meet in the Robert J. Smallridge School Administration Building at 304 New York Avenue. Monday’s meeting will be in the SAB conference room.
Later that evening, at 7 p.m., the City Council is scheduled to consider the municipal budget, which includes city funding for schools, on second and final reading. That meeting is in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom at 200 South Tulane Avenue.
The next fiscal year starts July 1.
See the proposed joint City County/BOE resolution and a summary of the proposed spending here: City of Oak Ridge and Board of Education Joint Resolution.
See the BOE meeting notice here.
The City Council agenda is not available yet.
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