Educators Call For Greater Control Of Finances

Feb 10, 2014

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, left, with Knox County School Superintendent Jim McIntyre

A bill making its way through the legislature in Nashville would give local school districts more power over the money they receive from the governments that fund them.  Currently, schools districts like Knox have to get permission from the county before they can move large amounts of money from department to department. 

The bill would change that.  Supporters say it would remove a level of bureaucracy and give school districts the opportunity to move quickly to resolve issues.  “We want to give school boards flexibility in light of the dozens, if not hundreds, of changes that are imposed upon them,” House sponsor Rep. Joe Pitts told the Knoxville News Sentinel.

But opponents like Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett fear it would also remove an important level of oversight.

“It basically just reduces the transparency and accountability,” Burchett tells WUOT News, “and what’s worse than that is it’s going to further erode the trust that’s between (counties and school districts).”

If passed, the bill would go into effect July 1 and require school boards to notify the county commission seven days prior to the shifting of funds from one budget category to another.