Edu-Budgets: ours and others

Today’s paper carries the story of a meeting between some School Board members (those who were not at the NSBA Conference) and some Council members (the ones on the budget committee, anyway) last night.  It was a contentious meeting at first, sounds like, because the proscribed "formula" increase planned by the budget and tax committee is 4.1%, while the School Board passed, on first reading, a budget that calls for an 8.8% increase in funds from the city.

In perspective, Knox County is set to ask for a 10.5% increase, of which,

$17.5 million in the proposed plan would go to pay for higher salaries, add positions, upgrade technology and establish the Excellence Through Literacy Program.

I don’t know how much of a pay increase Knox County has planned, but last year, we gave staff a 3.5% raise, while Knox County (and Maryville) gave 4.5%.  This year, even with a million dollar increase in requested City funds over last year, that only includes a 2% increase — less than the freaking cost of living!

Folks, we have the greatest teachers in the world, but we can only count on their affection and altruism to an extent.  We can’t pay them what they’re worth, but we can at least be competitive for the quality folks we do, and want to, attract.

Please don’t wait — contact your favorite member of City Council NOW and let them know that it’s important to fund this meager school budget THIS year and NEXT year, until we can begin turning around the sales tax deficit.  I’m convinced that it will happen, but it can’t happen immediately.

It’s already delayed a year because of the referendum, simply by where we fell in the decision queue.

I don’t want to pay higher taxes either, but I’d rather pay now to keep what’s important while we can still preserve it, than to pay later hoping to rebuild what we once had.

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