Director of Schools Bobby Cox has his answer. Warren County Commissioners are not in favor of providing Warren County Schools an additional 19 cents in property tax.
A nonbinding vote was taken Monday night and ended 19-5 against increasing school funding by $1.24 million.
Commissioners Carlene Brown, Wayne Copeland, Richard Grissom, Ron Lee and Tommy Savage voted in favor of providing the extra funds, but they were outvoted by the 19 remaining members of the commission.
Cox asked the county Education Committee earlier this month for the Warren County Commission to be allowed to decide if it would be in favor of the extra funding. The request came after most Education Committee members said they would not support it, that it would create the need for a property tax increase, and they were not in favor of it.
County Executive Herschel Wells reminded commissioners the vote was not binding for the school budget or the county budget.
“The nonbinding vote will only be to determine the support of the school system’s property tax increase request,” said Wells. “A vote on the school system budget, along with the consolidated county budget, will be included in an upcoming docket. This has nothing to do with the school system budget or our consolidated budget.”
The additional funds were requested by the school system due to its proposed budget for fiscal year 2017-18 being $1.1 million short. The 19 cents is needed to cover operational costs.
Specifically, those extra costs are a 7.1 percent health insurance increase that will cost $600,772, an additional $250,000 for walkways at the middle school, $250,000 for a new chiller for the high school, and approximately $40,000 for four schools that can be used for architect fees on proposed future projects at Bobby Ray, West Elementary, Eastside Elementary and WCMS.
Cox asked for commissioners to pursue those projects and also give the school system an additional 19 cents.
“In addition to our requested budget needs, we also request the Warren County Commission fund the discussed building projects at Bobby Ray Elementary and West Elementary during the 2017-18 school year and the discussed building projects at Eastside Elementary and Warren County Middle School during the 2018-19 school year outside of the normal operating budget for the school system,” said Cox.
Commissioners Carolyn Miller and Charles Morgan abstained during the vote. However, abstentions are considered negative votes.