Note: This story was updated at 7:40 p.m. June 4.
Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson on Monday recommended a budget that does not raise the property tax rate, setting up a potential conflict with school officials, who have requested a 37-cent tax increase to avoid cuts.
The Oak Ridge Board of Education already approved its budget in in two meetings last week. That budget, which was scaled back from an earlier proposal, could include an extra $3.3 million to start implementing a technology initiative known as 1:1 that would provide electronic learning devices to all students over three years, add five technology positions, and give 2 percent pay raises to staff.
But the budget is still subject to the amount appropriated to the schools by the city. Oak Ridge provides a little less than one-third of the school system’s funding.
While the schools have approved a budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, the city has not. The Oak Ridge City Council will consider the municipal budget in two separate meetings this month, one on June 9 and the second on June 16. The city budget also includes a 2 percent pay raise for employees.
It’s not clear that Oak Ridge City Council members will agree to raise taxes to accommodate the school system’s request. In his budget presentation to Council on Monday, Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said Council members have endorsed keeping the tax rate unchanged for the seventh year in a row.