Some Hamilton County School Board Members unsure Commission would go with budget proposal

HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – The proposed 2020 budget is for 443 million dollars.

It includes a 5% teacher pay raise, adding 14 counselors and 15 truancy officers.

And it’s the budget, board members discussed Thursday night.

“If there was ever an appetite in Hamilton County among masses to invest in education in Hamilton County, I think the appetite is today,” School Board Member District 3 Joe Smith said.

Not every board member felt the proposed budget addressed every need.

School Board Member District 1 Rhonda Thurman wants lights, bleachers, and bathrooms for the Sale Creek High School Football team.

“So they can play their home games at home and I don’t think like that’s been asking too much. I’ve been asking for it for at least two or three years and it just seems like it falls on deaf ears,” Thurman said.

Thurman also wants a problem with snakes at a school fixed.

“We have had snakes at Soddy Daisy Middle School. I think it’s because we’ve got the old portables behind the high school that need to be torn down and an addition needs to be put on to that school and we have been overlooked and overlooked while all these other schools are getting all this great and wonderful stuff,” Thurman said.

If school board members approve the current proposed budget, the commission still might not give them what they want.

The proposed budget requires an additional 34 million dollars of revenue.

“I’m not saying it’s wrong. Do we need it? Yes, we do and I’m not sure that our commissioners are going to go with us on that,” School Board Member District 9 Steve Highlander said.

“Rhonda said it’s a little bit less than this but it’s approximately a million dollars, is one cent in tax increase, so if we’re asking for 24 million, that will be a 34 cent tax increase. I’m sure county government will need more, I’m sure Sheriff Hammond has had to ask for more because of his people so you’re looking at a substantial property tax increase and I personally am very concerned for our senior citizens,” Highlander said.

“If they had five votes I’d be surprise, but I’ve been surprised before. They may do it,” Thurman said.

The board is scheduled to vote on the budget May 9th.

After that, it will be presented to county commissioners.

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