The Oak Ridge Schools budget was approved three weeks ago, with presentation to City Council delayed until Monday so that we could get bids in for bus service beforehand — just to make sure that one or more of the bids would come in close enough to our budgeted amount to make it work.  It looks like it will.

Unless, of course, there’s a significant change in projected revenue from the State (BEP funds).

The State Funding Board met this week to revise revenue forecasts, and the news was not good.  From the Tennessean:

The State Funding Board delivered grim economic forecasts on Thursday indicating that the state could have to cut up to $384 million in spending this year and shed up to $585 million from next year’s budget.

The board met to approve final revenue estimates that will be central to budget revisions in coming weeks. The board, which provides a range of estimates, said taxes will increase between a low of 0.25 percent and 1 percent this year, and between 1.25 percent and 1.75 percent next year.

State Finance and Administration Commissioner Dave Goetz said that translates into $315 million to $384 million in cuts to this year’s budget. Next year’s budget, which was introduced in January, will have to be reduced between $468 million and $585 million.

"A budget gap of that size will require us to look at everything," he said.

Preliminary indications are that the Governor and our local legislators will try to protect K-12 funding, although the teacher pay raises may not survive the cuts at the State level.

In a related cloudburst, some folks are upset that some graphs presented in the Funding Board’s meeting were not handed over to the press.  We do have an open records law, but it’s not immediately obvious if these particular pictorals fall under that category.  In any case, the same information is probably found in this report.

I think we’ll all feel a sense of relief when the Legislature passes a budget and goes home.   Unless, of course, they deviate substantially from the funding estimates provided to school systems last month, which could be the budgetary equivalent of a tree falling on the house in the midst of a late-Spring storm.