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Dronebarger: Fearful Of Local Tax Base Impact From New School Funding Formula

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Dronebarger: Fearful Of Local Tax Base Impact From New School Funding Formula

White County Director of Schools Kurt Dronebarger said he foresees local budget issues if Governor Bill Lee’s new school funding formula passes.

Dronebarger told the White County School Board Thursday night school districts will initially receive more money, but state payments will eventually decrease.

“The amount they are projecting to give from the state is going to go down over those next five years while the expenditures for salaries need to go up,” Dronebarger said. “And I think we’ll all be standing in front of our local funding bodies asking for increases in property taxes in four to five years.”

Dronebarger said as the plan stands, he sees larger school districts with established tax bases benefiting more than smaller districts. Dronebarger said other school directors from small districts share the same feeling.

“According to their projections, what they’re going to give us over the next four or five year is going to go down, down down, and then you’re going to hit the locals at one time and say you got to raise your maintenance of effort because you have to meet where you were and that means you’re going to be asking for property taxes,” Dronebarger said. “I am afraid where this is going.”

Dronebarger said he has reached out to local representatives asking them to slow down the funding approval process. Dronebarger said most states that go through a change like this usually take three years.

“They’re trying to do it in three or four months and there is so many unknowns,” Dronebarger said. “It could be a great thing, but what I am seeing it’s not great.”

Dronebarger said White County’s estimated allocation under Lee’s plan is about $4 million. However, student numbers were off by 150 students, so the number could change.

“I do think it’s got enough push and support that it is going to pass,” Dronebarger said. “It’s more money for schools, but there are strings attached. I encourage everyone to really pay attention to that.”

In other business, the school board approved the sale of 120 outdated computer monitors. The district will use Gov Deals for the surplus items.

Surveying of the BoDeCroft school property also began in preparation of the expansion project. New windows for the old building are set to be installed over spring break


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