It's Just Not That Easy

Last week I received an unusual document in the mail, as I'm sure other board members did.  It was a resolution from the Lenoir City Committee Of 100. This is an organization of local businessmen and women and various other community minded individuals. This committee works for issues that in their view would be beneficial for economic and community development.

The resolution with all the proper "whetras's and therefore's" gives some rather dubious facts and figures pertaining to the Loudon County school system's current funding. But in a nut shell, the resolution states that the Committee Of 100 "will support" and "strongly urge" the commission to pass the BOE budget as presented and approve the building plan.

I appreciate Committee Of 100's desire to support and urge the commission to give the school board everything but it's just not that simple. In fact it's financially impossible to do both without a hefty property tax increase which the Committee Of 100 did not recommend. If commissioners give the extra $800,000.00 to the school board for general operations that would leave very little if any funds for the building program. If commissioners don't give the board the requested $800,000.00 for operations, that will be funds that would support the building program.

The school board has been on a spending spree of unparalleled proportions with new spending of nearly $12,000,000 over the last five years while enrollment has been mostly static.

I as I'm sure every Loudon County elected official wishes they could give the schools everything they want. Higher pay, more programs better buildings but there's just so much money to go around and in the current economic environment, there's even less than usual.

While the opinion of the Committee Of 100 is important, it's also important to remember that commissioners and school board members also have to represent the committee of 30,000, i.e. the voters of Loudon County, who have made it crystal clear that they want no new or higher taxes period.

The commissioner's have an almost impossible task before them. They must weigh all the factors and make the final decision. No matter how the vote goes some will not be happy.