Budget Fight Could Further Delay Sumner Schools’ Opening

Tonight the Sumner County school board will decide whether to end a stalemate that’s kept schools from opening on time. Earlier this week the district wrangled an extra two million dollars from the Sumner County Commission, but that’s still millions below what it says it needs to run schools this year.

County commissioners have been reluctant to budget more for schools, saying they’d have to afford it in future budgets as well, potentially raising property taxes. Schools Director Del Phillips argues without more money the district will have to lay off teachers midyear, saying Sumner has been growing, but taxes haven’t kept up.

“I’ve had the opportunity to listen to many parents and read many comments. Please allow me to address some of those that have been expressed. Foremost among these are the claims that our children are being used as pawns and that this is simply a political move. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Ahead of tonight some school board members have hinted the county’s two-million-dollar peace offering has not convinced them to open schools. Hundreds of parents and teachers turned out in support of the delay earlier this week. On Facebook, more than seven hundred say they’ll be at the school board tonight.

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