Schools budget includes $10M in new revenue

Sumner County Director of Schools Del Phillips presented his proposed fiscal year 2021-22 budget to school board members during an informal workshop on Tuesday.

A nearly $300 million 2021-22 fiscal year budget presented Tuesday by Sumner County Director of Schools Del Phillips includes raises for all principals and assistant principals, salary increases for both certified and classified employees, five new teachers, principals at two schools scheduled to open in the fall of 2022, and funding for capital improvements at all of the county’s middle and elementary schools.

The budget also includes some good news for parents.

Parents of high school students will see the fee for materials requested at the beginning of the school year decrease from $50 to $25 while elementary and middle school parents will be able to once again forgo shopping for school supplies.

The school district’s 2020-21 budget included $1.3 million for school supplies normally purchased by parents of K-8th grade students like markers, crayons, Kleenex and disinfecting wipes.

Phillips said on Tuesday the idea was well received by both parents and teachers and that the school district will pay for the supplies again this year.

His remarks came during a presentation of his 2021-22 fiscal year budget to school board members during an informal budget workshop at the Sumner County Board of Education.

Board members will vote on the proposal at their regular board meeting on Tuesday, May 18. Members of the Sumner County Commission will likely vote to approve the budget in June.

Phillips’ budget includes $10 million in new revenue that includes $8.5 million in local funding from sales and property tax revenue and $1.4 million more in state BEP funding.

“We were conservative in our planning this fiscal year due to the concerns with how COVID-19 would affect us,” he said. “But we didn’t see a decrease in property or sales tax like we thought we would.”

The budget estimates $275,300,000 in revenue and $295,814,000 in expenditures with the district using $23,950,000 in unspent funds from the previous budget year to make up the difference.

The school district will set aside the $11 million required by the state to set aside in reserves, Phillips said. He also requested to set aside $9 million in reserves in addition to the $6 million he requested to set aside last year. Between the reserves mandated by the state and the $15 million in reserves Phillips is requesting, the school district will have a little more than $26 million set aside in rainy day funds.

Phillips’ budget includes $8.7 million in new expenses including pay raises for principals and assistant principals; a two percent step increase for classified employees; a 1.5 percent step increase for certified employees like teachers; and $380,000 for capital improvements to elementary and middle schools.

It also includes the following additions in personnel: five teachers; one nurse; principals for Liberty Creek Elementary School and Liberty Creek High School; (The two schools are on track to open in the fall of 2022.) additional custodians; a guidance coordinator; and an IT supply and logistics employee.

The new positions are in addition to the positions announced earlier this year that will be funded through the state’s ESSER program, funds from the federal government in response to COVID-19.

Those positions include: four social workers; three high school lead educators; two elementary school lead educators; a math consulting teacher; two SPED coordinators; two nurses; an EB Wilson virtual coordinator; an Edgenuity coordinator and a financial analyst.

Expenditures that will be funded by a county commission capital fund include $1.6 million for 15 new school buses and $1.2 million for paving that will include paving the parking lot at the Station Camp schools complex.

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