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JMCSS Requests More Than $10 Million be Added to Budget

By Mallory Cooke
By mcooke@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. -- During Thursday's budget meeting, Jackson-Madison County School System Superintendent Dr. Verna Ruffin requested millions of dollars be added to the budget for the district.

Pope Elementary School could get a new roof. It is one of dozens of items Ruffin put in the proposed budget for next year.

“We have quite a bit of needs in our buildings,” Ruffin said. “Our buildings are old.”

The district agreed to cut approximately $1.5 million from its budget, but asked for more than $10 million.

“Yes, it is a lot of money, but it's a lot of money based on a district that's looking at innovative practices and moving a system forward for progress,” Ruffin said.

The money would pay for roof, HVAC, and stadium repairs, along with technology, textbooks, and the addition of full time staff.

“There's no way that we could increase the budget like they said without a tax increase,” Madison County Commissioner Larry Lowrance said. “The money's not there.”

Ruffin’s proposed budget also includes a 2-percent pay raise for all employees.

“They deserve it,” Madison County Commissioner Ann Harrell said. “I don't know if we're gone be able to give it, or not all of it anyway.”

Commissioners say they plan to work with the school system to prioritize what has to be done.

“Let's wait a week or two before we panic and see how the dollars come in,” Lowrance said.

Commissioners will not vote on the final budget until June.