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Variables leave city school budget up in the air

CHRISTAN M. THOMAS • Apr 14, 2007 at 12:42 PM

KINGSPORT - Despite the fact the Kingsport Board of Education passed a balanced budget Thursday, that budget its still fraught with unknowns.

"This is a very unusual budget year," said Superintendent Richard Kitzmiller at Thursday's special called BOE meeting. "We do have an estimate from the state of Tennessee now, but there are many more unknowns this year than in any of the previous years, certainly in recent memory.

"In Nashville, the governor has an initiative on the table now called Schools First. Schools First not only says we need to make schools a priority, but also says we need to tell the schools what their budget is going to be, first. There are so many changes such as the (proposed) 40 cent increase on a pack of cigarettes, things like that, that may or may not happen for school systems. There are a lot more variables this year, still undecided in Nashville, than almost any year in recent memory."

Kingsport City Schools Director of Finance David Frye presented the BOE detailed budget estimates based on months of work from staff and the budget committee.

Budget totals for the 2007-2008 school year include a general purpose fund of $58.49 million; a food service fund of $2.78 million; a federal projects fund of $3.5 million; and a special projects fund of $1.39 million, bringing the total in all funds to $66.16 million.

The 2007-2008 budget represents a $2.4 million increase from 2006-2007.

The largest area of increase comes from personnel costs, including pay increases and the addition of new positions to keep up with increased enrollment demand.

"We are expecting growth, so if you have more students you need more personnel," Kitzmiller said.

Pay increases will cost approximately $1.5 million, while the additional teaching and classified personnel positions will cost approximately $600,000.

As for revenue sources, for the general purpose fund the system expects to receive $178,400 from the federal government; $20.12 million from the state; $20.76 million from county sources; $15.94 million from the city of Kingsport; $1.14 million from charges for services; and $354,500 from other sources.

Revenue from the city represents a $455,600 increase versus the 2006-2007 budget year. However, Kitzmiller said that number could adjust down or up based on final numbers from the state and other sources.

The Kingsport school system will present its budget to the Board of Mayor Aldermen on Monday.

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