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Schools give up on tax increase request
Despite solid support from local residents attending meetings in hopes of more money for local schools, the county won't be giving any additional funding this year.

Local educators will have to absorb a 7 percent increase in health insurance costs in 2018 as the school system will not be able to offset the rising premiums after a request for a tax increase was rejected by county government.
The Board of Education voted unanimously during a special session Friday to adopt a maintenance of effort budget which calls for $12.2 million from the county. The budget is minus the $590,406 the school system sought to offset rising health insurance costs.
The school system had first requested a 19-cent tax increase, then a 9-cent increase, both of which were rejected by Warren County commissioners.
“We won’t be able to pick up the increase like we did last year,” Director of Schools Bobby Cox told the Board of Education. “That will have to be passed on to the employees.”
Cox said unforeseen costs, like a new chiller for the high school and a roof for Bobby Ray, will eat away any contingency funds the school system had for the coming year.
While having to relent on helping employees with health insurance costs, Cox said he is still hopeful, after his meeting with county leaders, the County Commission will be onboard in helping with school maintenance projects that could cost over $6 million. Those include upgrades at West Elementary and Bobby Ray, both of which are top priorities.
“I haven’t gotten a commitment, but I feel very encouraged they will work with us on the building projects,” Cox said.
As for the inability to offset rising health insurance costs, Cox said that could eventually have a negative impact on the quality of education as top teachers may start shopping around for a better deal.
“We lost three teachers to Rutherford County this year,” said Cox, noting some systems can offer better pay and healthcare packages to employees.