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Jackson Schools Discuss Balanced Budget In Work Session

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Jackson Schools Discuss Balanced Budget In Work Session

The Jackson County School Board will include five percent raises in its new academic year budget, discussed Thursday night.

The balanced $23 million budget also includes money to construct the new CTE building. Director of Schools Jason Hardy said between ESSER funds running out and TISA recalculations, many districts have been forced to lay off teachers.

“We were very intentionally, we were not coming in here to cut positions,” Hardy said. “Not teachers or educational assistants. I hope that doesn’t come down the road, but there’s some things we can’t control, I mean, money in money out is what you have to look at.”

Hardy said he has worked to shave money off of programs that are not being heavily used or proving to be effective. Hardy said the proposed budget is balanced, but it is tighter than ever and likely only to get tighter.

“I would love to be transparent and I think we’ve known this since last year, that the way the formula, the way everything was changing, it was coming down the road,” Hardy said. “It’s not a shock to me, I don’t think it’s a shock to any of the other directors.”

He said the new CTE building is expected to cost at least some $3.2 million with $1 million funded through a grant.

Hardy said the district was able to absorb salaries that were paid by ESSER into the general purpose fund. He said on top of that, the board’s insurance rates are expected to rise by 15 percent. Hardy said though the budget is workable, if the TISA money winds up lower than expected, a rural system like Jackson County’s would feel it.

“When you lose students, it’ll show up in a rural county very quickly,” Hardy said. “Putnam County loses 40 kids, they probably won’t even notice it. We lose 40 kids, we notice it.”

He said he would have more exact numbers next month and looks to have the budget passed at that point.

In other business, the board passed its annual Agricultural Compliance Plan, outlining its strategy to allow local businesses to compete realistically for projects the district bids out.

The board also approved bids for its nutrition program and ice cream provider.


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