Monday was the first day back to school for students in Blount County.
While students worried about classes, the Director of Schools, Rob Britt, was thinking about the budget and next school year.
Monday morning, hundreds of kids poured in to Carpenters Elementary School with their new clothes and hairstyles.
5th grade student, Gabriel, says he is ready for school, but, "I think it's going to be exciting. I am a little nervous too."
Other kids were just glad to be back. 4th grade student, Reagan, said, "It's a new day. I get to see my friends and learn new things."
Just to make it easier on the kids, first grade teacher, Leisa Stinnett, put out name tags and coloring books to make everyone, herself included, feel at home.
"For me that's a comfort level for the kids because I am new, classroom is new," said Stinnett, "I want them to have something they are familiar and comfortable with."
The Director of Schools, Rob Britt, stopped by the school to encourage kids on their first day.
On his mind, in addition to the start of this school year, are looming budget woes.
"These are definitely challenging times as it relates to our budget, so as we look forward to next school year," Britt explained, "We are going to have to have additional revenue to support our budget."
In June, the Blount County Commission approved a resolution giving the schools just over $80 million. That's $4 million shy of what the district wanted.
Due to this shortfall, Britt asked the Commission for a referendum to be added to the ballot in November to increase sales tax just like Alcoa did this month. The sales tax hike vote would be from 2.25% to 2.75%.
The commission will discuss that issue starting Monday night.
But Monday morning, Britt focused on the kids and the start of this school year, "We look forward to another great year this year."
Monday night the Blount County Budget Committee will discuss the sales tax increase.
If the item is put on a future agenda, the County Commission could vote next week on whether to put the sales tax increase on the ballot in November.