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Roane County Schools face $1M in cuts | News

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Roane County Schools face $1M in cuts
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(WBIR-Roane County) After the Roane County Commission voted down a property tax increase for the second year in a row, local schools are facing $1 million in cuts, including security cameras, textbooks, teacher salaries, and maintenance repairs.

According to Gary Aytes, director of schools, the cuts are to the current school year's budget.

"We have to buy books this year for the next school year. So it would be $500,000 in textbooks, math textbooks, that we wouldn't be able to buy. The security cameras, estimated at $200,000, we wouldn't buy, and the maintenance projects would just have to be on delay indefinitely," said Aytes.

Aytes said the Board of Education is counting on the district's reserve funds.

"There is one year of reserves left, but eventually that money will run out, and that's our concern," said Aytes.

"Costs have gone up over the last 30 years. And the state has already told us to prepare for a 15% increase in healthcare costs, so that's half a million right there alone," said Aytes. "Our biggest concern is next year; we're facing at least $3 million in cuts that we're going to have to make."

Gail Robinette, a parent, said education is invaluable.

"If I would have been on the board, I would have said yes, increase it," said Robinette.

The nine cent increase would mean $23 more per year for taxpayers who own a home valued at $100,000.

"It's worth it, yea, it'd be worth it in the long run," said Robinette.

Aytes said his goal is to maintain the success of Roane County Schools, and to continue to provide the best education possible despite financial hardships.

"Our graduation rate is way up, our dual enrollment courses is way up. Our achievement and growth data is very good," said Aytes.

The BOE is set to meet Thursday night, and could vote on whether or not to dip into the reserve funds, which would then require the County Commission's approval.

"If that doesn't happen, we can't do any maintenance projects that are scheduled this year," said Aytes. "Replacing intercom systems in two schools that have gone out. We had repaving two parking lots and entrance areas to the schools that are in bad shape. And we have roofs that need replaced over rooms in Oliver Springs High School and Roane County High School."

Roane County Schools has roughly 7,000 students and a $52 million budget.


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