School funding coming in even lower than expected

State BEP funding will be about $2.9 million less than expected for the 2014-15 Knox County Schools budget, according to school officials.

A change in the calculation formula for the state money caused the drop, figures from a worksheet from Knox County Schools indicated.

“It is safe to say that we’re going to have to look at that and probably bring forth a revised, proposed budget because the state has reduced BEP funding for Knox County,” Knox County Finance Director Chris Caldwell said.

Knox County Commission Chairman Brad Anders said that he found out today about the funding shortfall.

“It’s going to take part of the overall discussion,” Anders said, referring to next week’s meeting planned at Ijams Nature Center between Knox County Commission and the Knox County Board of Education.

Funding is certain to be a part of that conversation, as it very often is during this time of year – budget season.

Already the proposed budget from Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett is less than requested from the schools. Specifically, it fails to cover money related to a teacher increase that the school system asked for beyond natural growth.

With this new estimate, Caldwell said, the philosophy of the county’s finances won’t change.

“You don’t use one-time money for recurring expenses,” Caldwell said.

The county does have money in its reserves, but Burchett and county commissioners have said they don’t want to use fund balance for any shortfalls in ongoing expenses for the budget – whether it’s schools or other line-items.


About Gerald

A journalist in Knoxville, TN. Work (mostly) inside and play (mostly) outside. I'm a part of the X or the Y generation. None of us claim the other.
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