Hamilton County School Board Members get a look at budget proposal, approve bus services contract

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HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson is proposing an increase of money for the 2020 budget.

School board members got a first look at the superintendent’s budget proposal Thursday night.

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It includes a 5 percent teacher pay raise and adding more school counselors, social workers and behavior specialists.

“We have 34 million dollars beyond the revenue that we anticipate having that we have a need for and it’s not, it’s not us. It’s children, right,” Johnson said.

The budget proposal is for 443 million dollars.

“You’ve got to understand, it’s been 15 years since we’ve got any kind of operations money, other than the growth money we get every year. So, let’s put our money where our mouth is, if you will. If we want to have the best public education system in the state, then we’ve got to invest in it,” District 3 School Board Member Joe Smith said.

The board also approved a contract with First Student for bus services.

First Student replaces Durham.

District 1 School Board Member Ronda Thurman was the only board member to vote no.

“I think that First Student knew that it was the will of the board to get rid of Durham at any cost, and so I think that we were just taken advantage of on that,” Thurman said.

After a bus crash in Hamilton County that killed six elementary students over two years ago, many parents expressed concerns over the company.

First Student’s proposal was for a million dollars more.

As for the budget, school board members will have time to look over and discuss the proposed budget.

A vote is currently scheduled for May 9th.

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