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Kingsport BOE to weigh programs vs. budget cuts

Christan M. Thomas • Apr 2, 2008 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Sacrificing needed programs to avoid presenting an unbalanced budget is not something the Kingsport City Schools budget committee is willing to do.

“We talked about it a couple years ago,” said Kingsport Board of Education President Randy Montgomery. “Is it our obligation to create a budget that allows us to operate the schools the way we think they need to be operated (and) to the expectations of the community? I think it personally is.”

In order to balance the proposed 2008-2009 budget before presenting it to the full Board of Education, the committee spent Wednesday evening trying to cut approximately $1.6 million in expenditures. They ended up cutting approximately $240,000, and additional cuts may be possible through adjustment of new and existing positions and programs.

The committee will present a budget to the full BOE today at their regular monthly meeting. School Superintendent Richard Kitzmiller said the staff would look at other areas to adjust before that meeting.

One main reason cited for not wanting to cut out requests is that many new positions and resources will be needed to help the system meet new state requirements related to the Tennessee Diploma Project and middle school reform.

“We have to make some decisions about curriculum,” BOE member Pat Turner said. “(We have to say) OK, if we lose this (budget item), what’s it going to do down the road?”

According to information from KCS Director of Finance David Frye, the previous anticipated revenue total — from state and local funds — was $60.21 million. While an approved increase in tuition adds $20,000 to the total, a smaller than originally anticipated amount of BEP funds subtracts $225,000, bringing the total to $60.01 million.

In addition to the smaller revenue, the budget committee weighed a long list of budget requests and looked at unavoidable increases in expenditures such as textbook increases and higher power and transportation costs. Before cuts, the budget expenditure total for 2008-2009 was $61.64 million.

The system’s general operating budget for the 2007-2008 school year was approximately $58.5 million.

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