School board sends budget change back to commission
A school budget amendment rejected by the county commissioners earlier this month will be resubmitted, Bedford County Board of Education members decided Tuesday.
The commission had questions about the reason for hiring teachers and regarding the dismissal of teacher aides and temporary teachers who had been hired earlier in the year.
The amendment moves money from a line item in transportation to one which may apply to teacher salaries.
Commission approval is required to allow new teachers to be hired to balance out student-teacher ratios in classrooms.
Vice-chair Ron Adcock challenged new board chair Amy Martin to restore the communication and the relationship between the school and county boards.
"We have been involved in some misunderstanding and negative dialogue, sometimes among ourselves, and with other elected officials in the county and in the finance department," Adcock said.
"I think this has gotten to the point where it is negatively affecting our students."
According to figures noted by Adcock at Tuesday's meeting, 62.5 percent of the district's budget is paid by state funds and 17.2 percent by federal monies, leaving 20.3 percent to be provided by the county.
County officials have been hesitant to raise property taxes to compensate for the steady increase in school population. The Tennessee Education Association (TEA) ranks Bedford County as sixth in the state for net percentage population change in the past 10 years, with an increase of 20.63 percent.
With 143 new students in Bedford County this year, along with 175 who enrolled at the beginning of last year, the school system has added 301 students in a year's time.
Wheel tax talk
The board also held a lengthy discussion regarding the wheel tax study session, ultimately choosing to defer discussion or any recommendations until the board's annual retreat.