Let the Battle Begin

Tonight the Oak Ridge Board of Education officially received the proposed budget from the Director of Schools, Tom Bailey.

He tried very hard to come as close as he could to staying within the City’s “financial model” — an increase in City funding of 4.1% — without devastating cuts.

It’s a bleak budget, with only a step increase and a 1% cost of living increase for teachers. Now tell me, have any of you experienced a mere 1% increase in the cost of living this year? Utilities alone trash that number. Throw in the increased cost of fuel, groceries, and goods (which all rose along with higher transport costs), and it’s a real loser. That’s before you even consider health insurance premiums.

Last year, we gave a 3% increase, while Knox County and Maryville both awarded 4.5% raises to instructional staff. This year, we’re down to 1%? With all the City’s posturing about “comparable cities,” we’re being left in the dust.

And, bleak as this budget is, it contains about a 6.9% increase in the request in funding from the City — $258,046 more than what the City’s “financial model” would allow.

Last year, the State Legislature in its infinite wisdom passed a law mandating 90 minutes of additional “physical activity” for all students K-12, along with a mandated “wellness coordinator” position to plan and audit the physical activity (translation: they want us to take 90 minutes away from academics and have the students “walk around” during the school day). If I heard Dr. Bailey correctly, we lose our Driver’s Ed program in order to fund the wellness coordinator.

So, what’s more dangerous for students: not getting 90 minutes of in-school exercise, or not getting quality driving instruction?

This is just the beginning. We MUST increase sales tax revenues in this city to decrease pressure on property taxes, but until then, we must avoid destroying what our forefathers spent more than a half-century building and nurturing.

We will not go quietly into the night.

4 thoughts on “Let the Battle Begin

  1. Well as much as any of us hate to see it coming, we will have to endure a property tax increase in the near future. There just doesn’t appear to be any way around it.
    You think the anti-folks are squeeling now? You just wait until their property tax bill shows up. This COR noise is nothing.

  2. Come to think of it, maybe it would be easier to make the case for our serious need for an increase in sales tax collection if our property taxes had increased 7% or 8% in the last budget cycle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *