Kingsport BOE approves $67.1 million budget for 2014-15

Rick Wagner • Jun 19, 2014 at 11:48 PM

KINGSPORT — City school leaders approved a 2014-15 general purpose budget of more than $67.1 million in a called meeting Thursday night.

Unlike other budget sessions, it was cut and dried. It reflects estimated Tennessee revenues and money appropriated in a Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Tuesday.

Because the BMA provided $150,000 in additional funding beyond the current $10.2 million instead of a request for more than $1.4 million, the budget includes no money for a proposed STREAM program or a proposed $750,000 computer purchase.

STREAM is science, technology, reading, engineering arts and math, an outgrowth of STEM or science, technology, engineering and math,

"What we had hoped to do was use the IA teachers for STREAM," Superintendent Lyle Ailshie said.

In addition, the Board of Education approved an almost $190,000 contract with consultant DeJong-Richter for a comprehensive facilities study contract and proposal of services and application for the $100,000 appropriation from Tennessee for the Coordinated School Health program.

The budget of $67,122,500 used all the $150,000 for extra teaching positions — $115,000 in teacher pay for 1.75 teaching positions and $35,000 to make a part-time John Adams Elementary related arts position a full-time one instead of a .8 equivalency.

Finance Director David Frye said that $17,000 is left over in the funds appropriated for teacher pay but that possibly extra Basic Education Program money will come in — beyond an already budgeted increase of $18,000 for next year compared to this year — and be added to the $17,000, making enough for an additional teaching position.

The original budget plan included 10.5 additional teachers plus six carried over from Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee, a STEM program the city used to operate with Sullivan County.

Now, Ailshie said, those six STEM teacher will be integrated to fill positions needed mostly because of enrollment growth.

Meanwhile, the county will operate IA as a school within a school starting this fall at Holston Middle School near Tri-Cities Regional Airport instead of the former Brookside Elementary in Bloomingdale, with some Kingsport students planning to remain with or become new students at the grades 6-8 IA.

Other proposed items cut from the draft city school budget were $65,000 for a school resource officer for Cora Cox Academy, $10,000 in grant writing funds, $10,000 in other supplements, $55,000 in nursing and substitute teacher pay increases, $25,000 in natural gas and $70,000 in technology funds.

The facilities study, to be done in tandem with one in Sullivan County also by DeJong-Richter, will look at enrollment trends and projections and the condition and suitability of buildings for current and future needs.

The BMA is funding $140,000 of the cost from a bond issue, with the other $50,000 coming from the city school system budget.

The county study of almost $270,000 is half school system-funded and half coming from the Sullivan County Commission, which approved that funding Monday.

On other matters, Ailshie said that school nutrition supervisor Jennifer Burleson has resigned to take a similar position with Bristol, Tenn., schools, while Washington Elementary Principal James Jacobs has resigned to take an administrative position in Washington County, Tenn., schools

The system will fill those two positions this summer, as well as other vacant positions throughout the system, he said.

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