Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Knox County Commission Passes Budget...No New Money for Schools

The Knox County Commission met in a marathon meeting today. At the end of the day a Knox County budget was passed. The Commission after much talking about budget cuts, only cut $193,300.00. The Mayor promises another $1.5 million in additional cuts. The Great Schools Partnership and Project Grad dollars were set aside until Dr. McIntyre arrives in town.

Brian Hornback during his time as a school board member was involved in the creation and implementation of Project Grad and the Great Schools Partnership. In a future post he will detail the need for an examination of the success and shortcomings of these two "public/private" joint ventures.

The bottom line is that Knox County Schools received no new money in the budget approved today. Why? After all the School Board had a budget meeting on Monday evening and there was allot of talk about "fighting" for school employee raises, to match the level of county employee raises (2%). But for all the talking only the Third District School Board Member, Cindy Buttry and Eighth District School Board Member - Elect Bill Phillips attended the Commission meeting. Phillips was seen at different intervals but was always aware of what was going on. As for school staff, Interim Superintendent Roy Mullins attended at the beginning of the Commission meeting. The schools Finance guy Ron McPherson and PR guy Russ Oaks attended during the entire Commission meeting. Word is that Karen Carson came after the budget debate had concluded.

So for all the talk about developing a good school system into a great school system. For all the talk about taking care of school employees and the system. Today, the Knox County School Board members failed to walk their talk.

So, when you see the School Board Chair lady cater to the crowd at a school board meeting and panders to get a round of applause. It is all show, because today she too failed to walk the talk. She promised on Monday night that she would communicate to the Commission that if county employees get a 2% raise, then school employees should receive a 2% raise. Either she failed to deliver the message or she is ineffective in working with her colleagues on the other side of the street. Because not one member of Commission even proposed what she promised.

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