Carter County BOE sends $9.5 million funding request to county commission

Published 1:58 pm Friday, May 20, 2022

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The Carter County Board of Education is asking the county commission to fund nearly one-third of the proposed $30 million Hunter School expansion.

The school board voted on Thursday to request $9.5 million in funding from the Carter County Commission for the project which would cover the remaining portion needed to cover the bid of nearly $30 million.

“We are putting up $10.5 million in ESSER funds and almost all our fund balance in good faith to fund the project,” Board of Education member Danny Ward said. “If the commission isn’t willing to give us the rest of the money, they need to explain to the kids and the community why they won’t.”

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Director of Schools Dr. Tracy McAbee also urged board members to consider who will be responsible for paying any bonds used in financing. McAbee said the county schools would have additional budget expenses for 10 to 12 years if the board made the commitment to pay the bond.

“The commission has said that if we will close this school or that school we will give you the money or if we will take our surplus down to nothing they would give us the money. We need to fully understand who will be paying the bond.”

The BOE attorney informed the board that he would have to take a look at the 2008 sales tax referendum to see exactly how they could utilize the capital projects funding into the equation as to whether it could be used for new construction or only projects to improve schools.

In other business:

• Ward made a motion to give a bus recently taken off the road to the local Shriner organization due to their bus blowing its engine on a return trip over the weekend. The board agreed to do so contingent on attorney approval.

• A motion made by Chris Hitechew to give a 3% raise to teachers and 4% to paraprofessionals in fiscal year 2022-2023 failed to get a second and failed.

• Several students and teachers were recognized for accomplishments during the 2021-2022 school year from all four of the county high schools.

The Carter County Schools next workshop is 5:30 p.m. on June 9 and a regularly scheduled meeting is 5:30 p.m. on June 16 at the Carter County Schools Technology Center on Stateline Road.