The Knox County Education Coalition asked county commissioners for more money in the next county budget.
The group gathered outside the city county building earlier Monday. They say Knox County Schools needs at least $32 million more in the next budget than it received for the 2019 fiscal year.
The school system is considering building three new elementary schools. Coalition representatives say to build those schools, which district leaders have discussed spending nearly $60 million to make happen, the county will need to request an adequate budget.
"They're planning on building new buildings. You got to have staff, you're going to have more costs, so it just makes sense that you're going to have more budget," John Butler from the coalition said.
In order for Knox County Schools to move forward with any of the three projects, it would require new bonded debt, borrowed money, that would have to be supported by Knox County.
School board members approved nearly $485 million for the 2019 fiscal year in August 2018 -- what some called a 'very tight' budget that had many worried about the future of some magnet schools and programs like Project GRAD.
Originally, the proposed 2019 budget proposed cuts to magnet schools by at least $1 million. However, the school board later approved a recommendation for additional funding. before the budget was passed.
Similarly, Career Magnet Academy was in danger of being closed a few months ago after a Dec. 2018 memo raised concerns over low enrollment, costs, and benchmark failures.
Following immense public support for CMA, though, the BOE voted to keep the school open. It has since been projected to see a large enrollment boost of 300 students next school year, and more than 450 new students in the 2020-2021 school year.