Knox County School Board Passes $357 Million Budget

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Knoxville (WVLT) - Students across Knox County will hear rise and shine early Wednesday, but the children and teachers now know what to expect for the school year.

Wednesday, the school board passed it's $357 million budget which, means more cash for teachers and some new programs for students.

You may hear many school employees whistle while they work in Knox County, thanks to a 3-to 4 percent salary increase across the board.

"My teachers will be very excited," Lonsdale Elementary School principal Lisa Light said.

Lonsdale Elementary principal Lisa Light says this may help keep her teachers on board.

"They've been watching it as have all the teachers in Knox County," Light said.

"Salaries are a big issue we have to stay competitive," Knox County School Board Chair Karen Carson said.

And there's more reason to smile for educators, also included in the 2007-2008 budget, employees will now get paid $100 for the sick days they have banked when they reach retirement instead of $20 a day.

"Quite a big increase we're thrilled about that," Light said.

Knox County students will also see some of the changes in the classroom, more than 30 new teachers are being funded through the revamped BEP program, and school board chairman Karen Carson says help is on the way for children struggling to read.

"Implantation of the reading literacy program just so important we believe to achieving our goals," Carson said.

Also a big ticket item on the budget: The Great Schools partnership program, which principal Light says will help her bring in specialized teachers to help her students along.

"We're hopeful it's really going to allow us to take the next step for our kids move them up keep them competitive," Light said.

Now with a budget in place, there's just one more thing this educator needs to catch up on before kicking off another school year.

Several school board members tell me they are now looking ahead to the search for a new superintendent.

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