They Did It Too

I guess not wanting to let down their commission counterparts, a majority of the Loudon County School Board voted Thursday night to start the process of blowing through the million dollars commissioners gave them. Raises for everybody.

$475,720.00 in raises to be exact. Some school employees got great big raises and some got little bitty raises but everybody got something. Teacher step raises, $214,259.00, Non Certified Personal step raises, $81,544.00, .05% raise for everyone who didn't get a step raise, $113,500.00, raises for 9 principals, $20,713.00, 1% raises for central office personal, $5,704.00 and $40,000.00 in raises for 10 assistant principals, twenty days added to their contracts. Voting for the raises were board members Bill Marcus, Bobby Johnson Jr., Larry Proaps, Leroy Tate, Gary Ubben and Steve Harrelson.

Board members took the pay increase recommendation given by director of schools, Wayne Honeycutt. Board members were provided with what Honeycutt called "rough numbers" before the vote but were not provided any updated budget documentation to support his proposal. Not withstanding the lack of any actual budget information, the aforementioned board members still voted for the director's recommendation. 

Tax payer funded raises for educators is the norm and in normal times probably wouldn't even raise a question. But in the current economic environment where many if not most of the tax payers who will have to foot the bill for the raises will themselves go without raises and in some instances without jobs. And to compound the issue, the raises could have easily been covered by just eliminating even a tiny bit of the millions of dollars being wasted every year by the school board. And to really add insult to injury, the raises with no cuts in the bloated BOE budget is the final nail in the coffin lid of the building program. But who needs new schools as long as all the educators get their raises.

With county commission's decision to rob from the building fund to give the school board another million dollars and with the school board's continued decisions to spend with reckless abandon and never cut anything, there's one thing for sure you can bet the farm on. If and it's a big if, Loudon County ever actually builds any new schools, we the tax payers are in for a huge property tax increase. The sad fact is that it was totally unnecessary. The money for the building program was there, money for raises was there, but not any more. It's gone forever. That train has left the station.