Knox County school leaders have begun crunching the numbers for next year's budget, and they're using the help of an outside consulting group to figure out how the district can be leaner and run more efficiently.

They met at Monday's Board of Education meeting to discuss the results and the board's tight budget and the findings from the Parthenon Group.

Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre said next board members need to determine what trade offs they need to make and where they need to invest.

"I think the important thing that I take away from tonight's conversation is there are some important investments we need to make in order to sustain the great academic progress that we're seeing in Knox County Schools. Things like balanced calender, things like enhanced pay for teachers, and things like technology to enhance personalized learning," he said.

Next, McIntyre says board members will digest the group's findings, then they will come up with a five-year strategic plan and figure out how they can pay for it.

That could mark the biggest challenge. The budget will be tight based on preliminary numbers. The district expects to get $10.5 million in revenue increases, and they expect to spend and invest $19.5 million. That's a difference of $9 million.

Dr. McIntyre still has about three weeks before he presents his formal budget.

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