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Kingsport elementary principals present wish lists

CHRISTAN M. THOMAS • Jan 19, 2007 at 10:21 AM

KINGSPORT - New flooring, more storage space, increased parking and additional staff were all items topping school wish lists as Kingsport City Schools elementary principals presented 2007-2008 budget requests Friday during the first of three Budget Committee meetings.

Several principals requested additional personnel for 2007-2008 in order to keep up with increasing student populations and services needed. The majority of positions requested were for teaching or special education assistants, or to change current part-time and class size reduction positions to full-time budgeted teachers.

Wish lists also included at least one additional systemwide speech therapist to help with a growing caseload across several schools.

Another major concern addressed by principals was the salary of school nurses and recruiting candidates to open positions.

"We are concerned that (school) nurses' level of pay is not the same as their counterparts outside the school system," said John F. Kennedy Elementary Principal Janet Faulk, echoing the sentiments of several others.

One principal requested that nurses' salaries be increased to at least the level of a beginning teacher, in order to become more competitive. Others simply requested a raise for school nurses but did not specify an amount. Due to a nationwide shortage of nurses, hospitals and others currently offer sign-on bonuses and high salaries to attract potential employees, which makes recruiting school nurses increasingly difficult.

As for facilities needs, several schools requested replacement for aging flooring, additional parking spaces and more storage space.

Safety measures, such as security doors, keyless entry systems, outside lighting and fencing, rounded out the other common requests.

The remaining KCS Budget Committee meetings will take place Jan. 26 at 9 a.m. - when middle school, high school, adult education, student services and the Kingsport Education Association will present - and Feb. 2 at 9 a.m. - when the community relations, technology, curriculum and instruction, human resources and fiscal affairs departments will present.

All meetings will take place in the central office conference room.

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