Parents flood school board meeting to discuss Sumner County budget
Aug 9, 2012 09:28 PM
GALLATIN, Tenn. -
Hundreds of parents attended a Sumner County school board meeting on Thursday night as school officials met to discuss budget issues that have delayed the start of the 2012-2013 school year.
Students were supposed to have returned to school on Monday, however without an approved budget the start day remains unknown.
The school of board previously requested an additional $7 million for the budget which would allow for teacher pay increases, among other items.
The county commission previously voted to give the schools an additional $2.2 million if schools were opened immediately.
"We've been cut for years and years. Every year they ask them to cut it back and cut it back. We've got to think towards the future so that we get these kids educated and we can compete with other counties," Sumner County teacher Sharon Walker said.
During Thursday night's meeting, Director of Schools Del Phillips III approved just more than $1 million in cuts, including eliminating eight new high school guidance counselors.
The board also plans to ask the commission to fund adult education.
"What we want to do is get students and teachers back into the classroom, but we also want to make sure that once we do that we can properly educate," Director of Schools Del Phillips III said.
Nashville's News 2 spoke with parent Stephanie Vincent who said she does not agree with the school board on keeping students out of class until they receive more money.
"I'm appalled they would use our children as pawns in a political chess game with county commissioners," she said. "I want them to compromise. I want them to sharpen their pencils and roll up their sleeves. I want them to find inefficiencies in their budget."
Parent Sybil Reagan said she believes the county commission has dropped the ball on the school budget.
"Until we can get together and get the county commission and school board together and have them focus on a long-term plan for funding for our schools which they have admitted they have not done," she said.
Reagan added," If they have decided to make compromises, compromises that don't affect our teachers and don't affect our children, but I do not see in our budget where they can compromise."
The school plans to ask the commission to hold a special meeting on Monday to discuss the revised budget.
Depending on the outcome of the upcoming meeting, students could return to the classroom as early as the middle of next week.
In addition to the delayed school year affecting students and teachers, it could also affect the start of football season.
If a budget agreement is not reached by August 31 all sports teams will be forced to cancel their season for the year due to TSSAA regulations.