KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Knox County Schools released its preliminary budget Thursday for fiscal year 2018, which calls for a three percent raise for teachers, among other items.
The budget of $471,146,000 is a four percent increase over the current budget, $14 million of which would be earmarked for improving educator pay and benefits. The district had initially proposed a four percent pay increase for teachers, but agreed to reduce that to three percent in order to give teaching assistants raises as well. Teaching assistants would get a $1 per hour raise, which translates to about 10 percent for entry-level positions.
The new budget would preserve 21 special education staffing positions to make up for significant reductions in federal dollars to fund those positions. The new budget also supports initiatives of the Disparities in Educational Outcomes Task Force and includes $1.2 million for improvements to its transportation program, including improving pay for bus drivers.
“We tried to be thoughtful as we worked to develop a responsible budget that met the educational needs of all of our students and teachers,” Superintendent Bob Thomas said. “We are committed to continuing the academic progress we’ve made and believe this budget is a reflection of the investment needed to deepen our strong foundation.”
The budget will be presented to the Knox County Board of Education on April 12.