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White School Board Pushing For More Budget Involvement

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
White School Board Pushing For More Budget Involvement

The White County School Board wants more involvement in the budget process after passing a budget that came up short at the last minute.

Board Member Dewayne Howard said he has been asking for monthly budget meetings since he joined the board but that has not happened. Chairman Bob Young said it will be important for the system to show more scrutiny with a $3.1 million deficit in this year’s budget.

“We, as a board, I think, need to make sure, as we go through the upcoming year, that we are setting aside purposeful time to have those that are instrumental in putting this budget together come and share with us so that we understand what they’re going through,” Young said.

Howard said upon passing the budget, the board owns it. He said the responsibility falls on them to explain a budget to the public, even though its creation was handled almost completely by the district’s finance team, not the board.

“There’s also teachers in this community that, right now, are scared to death that they’re going to be fired, going to lose their job, going to be cut out of summer school teaching right now,” Howard said. “And they’re emotionally torn up.”

Young said even without being able to offer a complete explanation for each line item, the board must still find a way to guide the district through the coming year. He said the finance team has a history of returning money to the fund balance at the close of the fiscal year. Young said while the deficit is a concern, he believes the finance team is great at what they do and this year will hopefully follow that trend.

Howard said with his present knowledge of the budget’s details, he is not prepared to propose major cuts or changes, but ultimately was the only board member who did not vote to pass it, opting to pass on his vote with option to change.

“I don’t know enough about this budget to take away anything or add anything to it,” Howard said. “That can be fixed or helped with some monthly budget meetings to really dig in.”

Young said he expects the board’s concerns to bring about a shift.

“I think, in this upcoming 2025 session that we’ll go through, I think you’ll see on agendas that we will need to be making, understanding the funding portion better,” Young said.


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