The Knox County Board of Education approved Wednesday a recommendation for additional funding for magnet schools and gifted and talented programs.

The proposal for the superintendent restores teaching staff positions for both programs and funding for the gifted and talented programs. It costs $538,000.

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Superintendent Bob Thomas said that money would come from additional state revenue that the district has received.

The board also voted to allow Superintendent Bob Thomas a one year extension to his contract.

"I was very pleased that the board expressed the confidence in me to give me another year," Bob Thomas said.

"I felt good about his confidence this year. I saw a lot of board members talking to him afterwards saying it was not directed at him personally," Patti Bounds, Knox County's School Board Chair, said.

Initially, leaders were discussing a two year extension. The board also approved his annual evaluation. Thomas received the 'meets expectations' designation in every category.

As for Project GRAD, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and County Commission chair Randy Smith cut a deal to fund that program for the next year.

Project GRAD is an elementary through post-high school initiative that serves 14 schools. It is a nationally recognized college and career access program. It is known for improving college attendance rates by focusing on student achievement in high school, graduation rates, and career and college readiness.

The final say on the effort to save all three programs for one year will come through a full commission vote near the end of the month.

Another topic addressed at the meeting was limiting the public forum section at the board meetings.

Members of the public are still given 5 minutes to talk, but now they aren't allowed to address a board member specifically, they have to address the board as a whole.

"This rule was already in discussion before that meeting that lasted seven hours long with the public forum," Patti Bounds said.