This week the Knox County Board of Education will vote on a $419.86 million budget for the 2014 fiscal year, as well as a capital investment plan and a school nutrition budget.
The Board first heard Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre's proposal for the general fund budget in March. His newest proposal adds $120,000 for higher trustees fees and increased rent to operate at the Andrew Johnson Building in Downtown Knoxville.
At Monday night's work session, the Board also discussed the details of his capital improvement plan with a $13.95 million budget for FY2014.
"Its the real, practical, day-to-day maintenance and repair types of projects that we need to do to be able to make sure that we're able to provide a safe, healthy and inviting learning environment for our kids," McIntyre said.
The largest portion of the capital budget comes from added security measures, an issue the superintendent has given priority focus.
McIntyre's capital budget includes funding for two new measures: A current-generation video camera system and a school access control strategy for things like a buzzer system, secure entry vestibules or a keyless entry system.
"I think it's important for us to be making sure that we are doing everything we possibly can to keep our kids safe in the Knox County schools and these are some important, foundational strategies that we believe will help us do that," he said.
See attached documents for additional capital budget details
The superintendent has also proposed adding an armed officer in every school, but that funding would come from the general purpose fund.
Several parents from Rocky Hill Elementary attended at Monday night's work session meeting to speak on behalf of the school's current after-school care provider, After Care Inc. Under a redesigned process for contract bids, each after school provider had to rebid for a new contract. After Care Inc. did not get a new bid and has since started an appeal process.
"There were essentially three key elements that were looked at with regard to this procurement for after school care services. The first was qualified personnel, the second was price, and the third was alignment to the Knox County Schools strategic plan and the work they were trying to accomplish in the classroom in the day," Dr. McIntyre said as he walked the Board through the new "Request For Proposals (RFP)" process.
"To the extent that that is not happening, or to the extent that a particular provider was not able to articulate how they could do that in the future, it does make for a difficult decision to make," he said to the Board during the hour-long discussion.
"I plead with you, do not take away an integral part of our school community," said mother and Rocky Hill Elementary PTO President Kristin Cazana. She and several other parents offered support to the After Care Inc. Director, Robert Dobwiggin.
"He works with our parent teacher organization in an amazing way, where we have a partner. He's a link to so many parents that don't come in to volunteer because they're working full time."
The bottom line is, he needs to be in this community," said another parent and husband to a Rocky Hill teacher, Chris Kane. "The community wants him here. We're successful in the community with our kids and our schools, and quite frankly, we want him there."
New school, new name
This week, the Board will vote to name the new elementary school set to open this fall in southwest Knox County. McIntyre says parents and teachers helped school officials decide on a name: "Northshore Elementary School."
The Board will to vote on the agenda during its Tuesday night meeting, scheduled for 5 p.m.