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Rodgers: New School Funding Will Require Forward-Thinking From Commissioners

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Rodgers: New School Funding Will Require Forward-Thinking From Commissioners

Putnam County Commission Budget Chair Ben Rodgers said he’s hopeful about what the new school funding formula means for the county.

Putnam County School System Director Corby King presented information about the funding formula to the County Commission Monday night.

Rodgers said that under the new formula, the county should be in good budget shape for the next five years as they already exceed the minimum funding requirement for the county. He said that the most important thing will be to prepare for years six and seven.

“Going forward the county commission needs to think about ways to provide more funding if that is our charge in year six and year seven,” Rodgers said. “Don’t wait until that time to address it. Be thinking about it, what are our options. Does that mean more property tax revenue, does that mean more sales tax revenue?”

Rodgers said that while there are still unknowns, he believes this could be a benefit to the county. He said that the way the formula works could help address the rapid growth in the county and the school system itself.

However, Rodgers said that despite the rapid growth, the county is having trouble retaining teachers because of salaries and benefits. He said that he hopes this funding formula will be able to change that retention issue.

“I think this funding model may assist with that,” Rodgers said. “Get our starting salary for new teachers up, up above what the average of the state is, and then, of course, have some incentives for those teachers that are currently there and administrators and support staff so it keeps them in the school system so they won’t leave. I think that funding model should assist with that. I think that’s part of what Governor Lee wanted to do, because just like the counties, the state sees all these people leaving the teaching profession because they’re finding something with more money and more benefits.”

Rodgers said that in his mind, the next steps are to be on the lookout for the Department of Education’s informational sessions. He said that as elected officials, school board members and county commissioners have a responsibility to make sure they’re educated and up-to-date on things of this nature.


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