Carter County School Board passes 2019-2020 budget

The Carter County School Board held a special workshop/budget session Thursday night, April 25, in order to take another look at the proposed 2019-2020 budget, after an initial estimate from the basic education plan of $30,000,004, roughly an $800,000 increase from their own estimates.

While the board did not have the final number just yet, the budget as it stood was balanced, and so discussion began as to what to do in the event of any other unexpected increases.

“I recommend we set some aside in case of an increase [in the BEP],” Brad Burke said.

Burke proposed a $70,000 reserve dedicated to this purpose. After a $100,000 suggestion from Danny Ward to “round it out,” the board agreed on an $80,000 reserve.

Danny Ward asked Superintendent of County Schools Kevin Ward if he had heard of any upcoming state programs that they will have to pay for, who responded in the negative.

A larger focus of conversation Thursday night was the subject of step raises. As part of the BEP, the board is required to provide a 3 percent pay increase for all paraprofessionals, and the state of Tennessee requires a 0.6 percent increase for teachers.

The board entertained requests to provide step raises not just for the maintenance department, but for every employee as well.

“If we do not get these step raises fixed, I will not vote for this,” Kelly Crain said.

For some, it was an all-or-nothing decision.

“Honestly, I think we need to pull it out of the budget until we can decide that factor,” Danny Ward said. “I am for your raises. I also need to look out for the other departments in this school system.”

The issue, the board discussed, is not every department has the funds they would need to incorporate step raises, meaning some areas would inevitably be left out.

“This is a much broader problem than we have the funds to address,” Kevin Ward said.

The board discussed the possibility of meeting with individual department heads after the budget vote that night to see if they could rearrange funds internally to include step-raises without changing their overall budget when it goes to the county.

The revised budget, with all previous cuts plus a 3 percent pay increase for paraprofessionals and a 1.5 percent pay increase to teachers, as well as an $80,000 reserve in case of a BEP increase, went up for an official vote immediately following the workshop. Danny Ward was the only dissenting vote.

The board determined the remaining moneys from the $80,000 can be rearranged based on the final number.

The now-approved budget will go before the county’s Financial Management Committee on Monday, April 29.

The board’s next workshop will take place on May 6 at 4:30 p.m., at 305 Academy St.

Local news

ETSU to honor those who graduated 50 plus years ago

Local news

Former finance director speaks out on past statements about training, records

Local news

Tennessee passes legislation to reform certificate of need law

Local news

Streets & Sanitation to repaint Elk Avenue parking spaces

Community

UHS Class of ’64 enjoys reunion

Community

Choral Club will present spring concert Monday at First Baptist

Local news

TEA celebrates victories for Tennessee students

Local news

Atmos Energy work to impact traffic on John Exum at Liberty Bell Boulevard

Local news

West Walnut to close at University Parkway

BREAKING NEWS

Carter County school board votes to close Little Milligan at end of year

Arrests

Multiple arrests made by Elizabethton Police Department on various charges

Local news

TWRA stocks Channel Catfish in community lakes

Arrests

Johnson City man arrested on multiple charges after shooting incident

Church News

Kissing the Hand of God

Church News

Church Briefs

Local news

Bonnie Kate Theater events include music by Samantha Gray, Tri-City Jazz

Local news

Pop vocal sensation Anthem Lights to light up NPAC stage with performance

Church News

Benefit concert planned May 19 for Carter County Isaiah 117 House

Church News

What does it mean to be born again?

Local news

Elizabethton Housing & Development Agency names Ireland Dillingham as Youth of the Month

Community

Watauga Association of Genealogists will have program by Roger Bowers

Local news

Fish and Chicken Feast May 4 at Boozy Creek

Local news

ETSU to screen ‘Forest for the Trees’ documentary

Local news

Bites by the Bridge, new event for First Friday at Covered Bridge Park