Budget Issues Threatening Possible Suspension of Daily Operations for Sullivan County Schools
“We don’t fully know…the total impact”
Comments during a conversation with Supertalk Friday morning from Dr. David Cox, Director of Sullivan County Schools, following an announcement Thursday of budget issues that are threatening suspension of daily operations at all campuses and central office. A letter sent to employees says the General Purpose fund budget approved by the County commission does not meet the required maintenance of effort test from the Tennessee Department of Education. Cox mentioned that the county has not funded that entire budget, which totals up to $800,000 short of total funding. This money, according to Cox, is a reimbursement from the county to the school board for recreation and community use. If there is not a resolution to this before October 15th, the system would miss out monthly state revenue payments totaling over $4 million dollars until budget issues are resolved.
As far as impact on students, Cox said there’s no way to quantify the impact that an interruption to daily learning routines would have on students. For employees in the system, Cox says without money, they would not be able to pay their employees and would have to compensate them while the system was not in operation.
No exact length of time has been declared on how long the system could operate without receiving state funds. The school board is scheduled to meet October 3rd and is also contemplating a special called meeting for October 7th. The County Commission currently is scheduled to meet October 17th, two days after Sullivan County would no longer receive monthly state funding.
Below is a letter sent to Department employees of the announcement Thursday night:
Dear SCDE Employee:
Upon the direction of the Board of Education, I would like to notify you of a potential budgetary concern. It was confirmed today that the budget which was approved and submitted by the County Commission for our General Purpose School Fund does not meet the required Maintenance of Effort Test from the TN Department of Education. The Maintenance of Effort Test is an established procedure to ensure that local funding is not decreased lower than the per pupil revenue budgeted in the prior year. With the failure of the Maintenance of Effort Test, the BEP funds that are received monthly will be held until a resolution is reached.
Beginning on October 15th, this loss of revenue will amount to $4,024,800.00 per month and will continue until the budget is resolved by the Maintenance of Effort test being met. Obviously, this loss of revenue would be detrimental to our school system and if unresolved, could cause us to temporarily suspend daily operations, including transportation, instruction, school nutrition, athletics, and Central Office services.
In the event that we would be forced to temporarily cancel school and suspend daily operations, each SCDE employee would receive earned compensation as daily operations are resumed.
If you have questions, please respond here. From those submissions, a list of FAQs will be developed to provide further clarification.
David A. Cox, Ed. D.
Director of Schools
Sullivan County Public Schools
PO Box 306
Blountville, TN . 37617
Courtesy of Image: Sullivan County Schools Logo