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Millions potentially cut from Oak Ridge schools' budget

8:11 PM, Aug 29, 2013   |    comments
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(WBIR-Oak Ridge) Where did $250,000 go?

That's the question Oak Ridge Schools and the City of Oak Ridge are asking themselves as a looming deadline could mean a loss of even more money in their proposed 2013-2014 budget.

Recently the school system was notified from the state that they have a lower budget than in years' past. According to the "maintenance of effort" rule that the state enforces, budgets for school systems must be at level or higher than in years' past -- as long as enrollment is not lower.

If "maintenance of effort" is not met, then the state can yank their money away, and for Oak Ridge, that's $1.87 million per month or about $18 million for the entire school year.

Both the schools and the city told 10News the $250,000 is in the budget, but can't find in their reporting where it came from. They said that money could come from a number of different sources, income taxes, property taxes, or another avenue -- but they said it is available for use.

Either way, some parents are talking about this potential loss of funding.

"It's an 'A' school district and to think we're going to lose money is that we won't be an 'A' school district anymore," said parent Ashley Johnson. "We're not going to have lunches provided to our kids and school supplies that are missing -- things that are missing that make us the best school district that we are."

The current school budget is $55 million; $14 million comes from the city. The Oak Ridge Schools superintendent, Dr. Bruce Borchers said he is confident the money is there and it will be found by September 30. That's when the state would start cutting the funding, month by month.

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