|The on going budget debate with the Loudon County
Board Of Education is like the Energizer Bunny, it keeps going and going
and going. Unfortunately the BOE and subservients have the luxury of
being able to espouse fictitious rhetoric while the commission has the
responsibility and duty to deal with the facts. The BOE and company
continuously make statements pertaining to the lack of funding without
providing information to substantiate their claims. Reminds me the Andy
Griffith Show, episode 200, Aunt Bee Runs For Office. If you have seen
it you know what I mean.
When my father went to school, in a one room school
house, the boys first task of the school day was to fire up the pot
belly stove and walk to the foot of the hill to get spring water for the
class. The outhouse was just behind the school building. Children were
educated. When I went to school we had indoor plumbing but no air
conditioning, there were thirty to thirty-five kids in a class with one
teacher. Children were educated. The alledged lack of money is not the
problem with education in Loudon County.
Below are two letters written to the Knoxville News
Sentinel pertaining to the BOE budget. You read and decide for your self
which side makes since.
Knoxnews.com June 2, 2007
Loudon school needs deserve attention The Loudon County school board
submitted its budget to the county commission recently with proposed
capital requests in excess of $100 million. While this amount may seem
large, it represents the accurate needs of the schools in our county
that have been terribly under-funded for many years now. Tennessee ranks
49th in education, with Loudon County falling within the bottom
one-third. We spend an average of $6,677 per child vers
Wayne Gardin, a county commissioner, was quoted: "It would take a $50
wheel tax to raise $100 million or more. If we did that, people would
start moving out of this county." I seriously doubt that our residents
would move over $50 per year, but given the fact that Loudon County
enjoys one of the lowest taxes in the state, would an extra $50 a year
be too much to ask?
Now, ask yourself, what would that $50 a year buy? Well, for starters,
it would get us three brand new, state-of-the-art,
leading-in-energy-and- environmental-design certified schools and
critically necessary renovations and improvements at the other schools.
It would allow for a budget that provides funding to attract and retain
some of the best educators this state has to offer. Kevin Clayton, CEO
of Clayton Homes, was recently quoted as saying, "Improving schools is
essential to moving the regional economy forward."
Great schools can help to attract professionals in technology and
science, something school districts all across the U.S. need. New
schools promoting green technology have also been shown to improve test
scores and improve the health benefits for those who attend.
Please show your support for the Loudon County school board budget and
write to your county commissioner and tell him you support a budget that
allows for the critically necessary improvements to our school to begin.
Loudon Elementary School
Loudon schools facing battle of budget
knoxnews.com By BOB FRANKE,
June 2, 2007
This is in response to a May 25 story in the News Sentinel, "Drastic
Loudon Co. school cuts proposed."
This story was a disservice to your readers and taxpayers in Loudon
County because it told only half the story and should have been titled,
"Drastic Loudon County school budget increases requested."
Here are a few facts and figures, and the citizens can draw their own
Last year's budget provided $7.2 million in property tax revenues to the
This year, the Loudon County school board initially asked for $12.1
million of property tax revenues to be allocated to the schools in its
2007-08 budget request. This included a request for 54 new positions.
The school board then revised this to $10 million of property tax
revenues to be allocated to the schools. This is an increase of $2.8
million over last year, or 39 percent - all in one year.
To fund a $2.8 million increase, the property tax rate would have to be
increased by 33 cents - from $1.84 to $2.17.
A 39 percent increase in school funding from the property tax in one
year is excessive.
Over the past six years, the schools have received considerable
increases in funding.
We just increased the property tax rate by 32 cents two years ago, and a
significant part of this increase went to the schools.
We are looking at another significant property tax increase in the next
few years to fund the $107 million-plus school building program.
Just to service the debt on the building program will require about a $1
increase in property tax rates, and this does not take into
consideration the additional operating costs that will be associated
with these new facilities.
Over the last six years, the school's total operating budget - from
local, state and federal sources - has increased by 60 percent. That is
10 percent per year, far more than inflation and population growth
during this period. Thus, we have not really been shortchanging the
This year's proposed appropriation - from local, state and federal
sources - for the schools is $34,199,228. This compares with last year's
appropriation of $32,481,344, or an increase of 5.3 percent.
We would like to be able to do more, but the money just isn't there
without a significant tax increase. We want our children in Loudon
County to attend adequate school facilities, and it is going to take
considerable tax monies just to bring our school buildings up to
standard in the next few years.
Bob Franke is a Loudon County Commissioner, 3rd District. His e-mail is