By Charlotte Underwood / Staff Writer
The Knox County Board of Education passed a “bare bones” 2012-2013 budget at its Tuesday evening meeting.
The $41,456,201.88 budget showed nearly a $3 million reduction over last year’s due to funding cuts, according to Knox County School Superintendent Walter T. Hulett. Last year’s budget was $44,000,000.
“The working budget is a decrease of nearly $3 million over last year’s due to a reduction in state and federal funding and grants,” Hulett said, adding that a reduction of that “magnitude meant something needed to be done.”
“We are cutting all expenses and trying to use what we have left to continue in the best way possible with student learning,” Hulett said.
According to the superintendent, one of the reasons funding is down is due to a decrease in school enrollment.
“We have 93 less children in the system this year,” Hulett said, adding that he thought the economy was partly to blame.
“There are no jobs; factories have closed down, businesses have moved out of the area and people are trying to find work and having to leave the area to do that,” Hulett said.
The decrease in student enrollment caused about a $679,000 decrease in the budget.
Hulett said things were tight in many of the districts across the state and that Knox County was no different.
“We have made all the cuts that we can make,” Hulett said, adding that the schools had not renewed several employee positions due to these cuts.
“Basically, due to the state cuts that all school districts are experiencing, we are having to trim our budget as much as we can,” Hulett said.
During the meeting, board members also approved a resolution to issue energy conservation revenue bonds in the amount of $9.5 million.
The bonds are being sold to fund a $9.5 million project which will upgrade school buildings and make them more energy efficient, according to Hulett.
Part of the project will be paid out of the bond funds and approximately $300,000 will come out of energy savings, Hulett said. In the end, the energy efficiency upgrades will save the district money.
By Charlotte Underwood / Staff Writer
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