Budget Committee Approves Proposal For Giles Co. Schools - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Budget Committee Approves Proposal For Giles Co. Schools

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By Aundrea Cline-Thomas

PULASKI, Tenn. – A finance committee with the Giles County Commission approved the budget for the school district, including provisions to dip into the district's savings account and lay off dozens of teachers and staff.

The budget is a sore subject in the county. At least 70 teachers and staff retired, resigned or were laid off – many say without prior notice. The result will be larger classes across the board. However, it's not expected to exceed state ratios.

"Our student population has roughly dropped four to five hundred in the past five years," Commissioner Tommy Beech explained.

Many say students are leaving the district because there are job opportunities for their parents in the county. State funds assigned to each child are no longer available as a result. Add to that, what's only been described as an accounting error.

"Some honest mistakes were made that I don't think any money was missing," Director of Schools Tee Jackson explained. "But as we projected our fund balance there wasn't quite as much there."

Not to mention the cost of doing business, from the price of everything from books to fuel is going up.

"My wife's a teacher, she's an elementary school teacher," Beech said. "We're always concerned."

That's why Commissioners are looking at every line item closely.

"I guess we're looking and the citizens are looking for more transparency," Beech told Jackson. "You all have gone through a very hard struggle. We're going through a hard struggle."

They asked questions before taking a voting on how to allocate local tax dollars. Commissioners approved the budget that included a decreased allocation from the county that reflects the loss of students. It now goes to the full Commission for a vote.

Both Commissioners and school leaders reiterated their confidence in the upcoming school year.

School Board member Don Storey has called for Jackson's retirement or resignation after concerns over how the layoffs and overall budget cuts were handled.

When asked Jackson did not answer if he would retire or resign but said the board knows the cuts are a result of a majority of the budget being made up of salaries and benefits.

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