Sevier County Schools Finance Director Karen King addressed a local Club Wednesday, November 7, explaining recent “opportunities” the County Schools System has faced in light of a loss of $7 million in state funding for county schools.
Due to a sudden change in the state’s funding formula for schools on May 5, 2007, a major source of funding for education in the county has been decreased. The previous funding calculations were based primarily on property tax, sales tax and per capita income. The new funding formula is limited to property tax and sales tax.
King said Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen had made a commitment earlier in 2007 that the formula would not be changed, until a formula could be found that would hurt no school district. According to King, Sevier County was not aware of the proposed change and only learned of the change after the change was announced to the legislature in May.
This was an affront to Sevier County citizens in that Sevier County contributes more sales tax money per capita to the State of Tennessee than any other county in the state.
When the change occurred, King was immediately facing $110 million in local budget requests that had to be reevaluated. She had to submit a budget on July 1. She said system personnel immediately considered all options in light of the projected revenue deficit. They also made numerous trips to Nashville, making repeated appeals to officials to change the decision.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.