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BEP 2.0 funding picture slowly coming into focus

Christan M. Thomas • Jul 3, 2007 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT - Funding once again took center stage Monday at the Kingsport Board of Education's regular monthly meeting.

According to information released last week by the Tennessee Department of Education, Kingsport City Schools is expected to receive approximately $20.9 million from the state under the Basic Education Program 2.0 funding formula. That's approximately $2.3 million more than the system received last year.

Officials from KCS attended a rollout meeting in Clinton last week with the hopes of finding out more on how the money must be allocated. Superintendent Richard Kitzmiller and Finance Director David Frye said not all of those answers are yet known.

"We're still finding out what kind of strings are tied to the new state money," Frye said. "We do not have a totally clear picture on that. We do know that we are going to have to account for $1.5 million of improvements that are added to or included in this budget that we can report to the state as 'these are improvements that we're going to make as part of the new BEP 2.0.'"

Despite unknowns, the BOE did authorize a few adjustments to the previously approved system budget in light of the additional funds promised. The board authorized KCS to increase teacher and classified pay by an additional 1 percent; to put in place the life insurance premium and teacher retirement rate increases; and to use $50,000 for a substitute teacher solution.

KCS officials hope to approve a more specific, amended budget in their August meeting. Systems across the state are required to submit a budget to the state by the end of July, Kitzmiller said.

In other business, the three returning school board members - Dr. Randy Montgomery, Susan Lodal and Wally Boyd - were officially sworn in Monday.

"I would like to echo the congratulations of the newly elected members," Kitzmiller said. "I think the citizens chose very well, and I would like to say that it's my great pleasure to work with the five members of this board."

In addition to being sworn in, Montgomery was re-elected board president and Lodal was re-elected vice president for the new school year.

The BOE's next meeting is currently scheduled as a work session July 12 in the Dobyns-Bennett High School Educational Foundation Field House Alumni Hall.

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