The Robertson County Board of Education unanimously approved a 2019-2020 General Funds Budget on Monday, July 8, preparing the nearly $109 million document for approval from the Robertson County Commission in August.
A little more than half-a-million dollars has been trimmed from an earlier proposed $109,177,769 draft, which was met with hesitation from county budget committee members in June.
Robertson County Schools Director Chris Causey presented a new, $108,614,269 budget to Board of Education members during a work session on Monday, just prior to the monthly board meeting.
He said nearly a dozen areas were cut in order to bring the overall figure down by nearly $600,000.
“Textbooks were cut from $900,000 to $800,000,” Causey said. “This does not mean we won’t have textbooks. But we will not get to buy as much beforehand to be ready for the 2020-21 school year.”
Reductions were also made in areas of educational assistants and their budgeted social security, state retirement and Medicare.
There were areas of general construction and building improvements that were also reduced.
One area regarding athletic facilities funding for each of the county’s five public high schools was questioned during the work session and later amended during the board meeting in order to keep the funding in place.
Each year the high school principal and athletic director oversee the disbursement of $25,000 in funding provided by the board, which includes transportation needs for ball teams.
Causey had suggested reducing that figure to $20,000.
Robertson County Board of Education Chairman Jeff White said he was worried the athletic directors of each school would face difficulties without the funds.
“I know it’s $5,000 and it isn’t much,” White said. “But that’s going to hurt. Those funds are not just for football, but also for wrestling, volleyball, girls softball, basketball, boys baseball…it is all split up into different areas.”
In the regular school board meeting, Scott Rice made a motion to amend the budget proposed, replacing the total $25,000 in athletic facility funds.
The motion was seconded by board member Allan Heard and approved unanimously.
The amended budget then also passed unanimously by the Board of Education. Board member Tommy Mason was absent.
Causey’s proposed highlights for next year’s budget remained intact, including the 2.5 percent pay raise for all certified and classified employees.
Several of the items listed in the proposed budget include new employees, including a coordinator and STEM teacher for the expanded Innovation Academy program into Springfield High School.
There is a digital learning specialist needed for the middle school grades.
Three new instructional support positions will give all schools access to instructional coaches, according to the plan.
A behavior interventionist would be hired for the increase of social/emotional services provided by the district.
One teaching position is proposed for the expansion of the Alternative Learning Center for the elementary grades.
A new agriculture teacher is proposed for Greenbrier High School.
A new art and a new Spanish teacher are needed at the high school level.
Three new English Language Learning positions will be added due to the increased number of ELL students in the district.
There will be a health coverage opportunity made available for all part-time employees, adding $200,000, according to Causey.
Bus drivers, school nutrition and day care employees who work part-time will be able to receive what is termed a “Mini-Med Plan.”
A total of nearly $718,000 is needed for transportation needs, some of which could be absorbed by an environmental grant received by that department.
Causey said seven new buses will be needed, including five 90-passenger buses, one 22-passenger bus and one 78-passenger bus.
One van is scheduled for replacement and one service truck is also proposed.
Some of the new hires have been implemented in order to meet social and emotional needs, according to Causey.
In the past five years, the student population in Robertson County Schools has not grown.
There are 11,400 students enrolled in Robertson County Schools in the 2018-2019 academic school year, according to Causey.
State records from the Tennessee Dept. of Education show the following:
Robertson County Schools population Year
The Robertson County Schools 2019-2020 schools budget will face the Robertson County Commission’s budget committee for a vote later this month before heading to the full commission in August.