School budget committee meets to discuss funds for next year

JACKSON, Tenn. — It was not a typical meeting for the Jackson-Madison County school budget committee, as many members voiced their concerns following the Jackson City Council’s vote earlier this month.

School budget committee members met to discuss their options after the city council voted to reallocate millions of dollars the school system has been getting for nearly 30 years.

“We are going to do what we have to do to keep schools going and improving,” Budget Committee Chairman Wayne Arnold said.

Arnold said the proposed budget for next year is nearly $104 million, but that is only if the board is able to maintain the $12 million the city council voted to keep.

“We are preparing a secondary budget that doesn’t include some positions such as some school nurse positions that we needed,” he said.

But Arnold said the secondary budget is a last resort.

“It’s what I am calling and austerity budget,” he said. “Just in case, but we are going to get by.”

While some of the committee members expressed concerns about this budget for next year, newly appointed Superintendent Eric Jones said he is confident the funding issue will be resolved.

“I don’t want to alarm any of our parents or any of our teachers,” he said. “We will have school, and we are looking forward to a great school year.”

Jones says the city’s decision might have been unexpected, but the county mayor has made it clear he will fund the schools..

“At the end of the day, school must go on, and it will go on,” he said.

Even though Jones has not officially taken over the superintendent position, he has already made important changes to the budget.

One of them including replacing hard-copy textbooks with paperback. Jones said that decision will save the school system more than
$1 million.

The school board will vote on the proposed $103.9 million budget at their meeting in June.

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