On Friday morning, members of the Knox County School Board will attempt to convince the County Commission to grant the schools $1.73 million more than is currently allotted in the budget for the coming fiscal year, 2010-11. While not preventing broad cuts throughout the system, School Board chairwoman Indya Kincannon wrote in a letter to the Commission that this sum could save 30 teachers and 10 teaching assistants, the loss of whom she says would be the most painful reduction in staff.
This battle for the school budget has been a protracted one, brought on by the challenging economic environment and the concomitant slump in pension funds. Originally, Superintendent Jim McIntyre had proposed freezing pay increases for teachers, which he said would have closed the $2 million gap and only laid off nine classroom teachers. But the Knox County Education Association, the local teachers union, rejected that measure, instead opting to risk layoffs. Now, it appears the board is asking the Commission to find some money somewhere in its budget to mitigate the damage, so it should be interesting to see how many commissioners turn up, and how responsive they are to the board's proposal.
The meeting runs from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., in the board room on the first floor of the Andrew Johnson Building. For information about attending, contact Terry Alexander at 594-1630 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday, May 13.