Below is a summary of my remarks to the Sumner County Commission last night. I spoke as a parent concerned about the inadequate funding our community’s schools receive.
My daughter is 6 years old and today was supposed to be her first day of first grade.
Let me begin by saying I fully support the School Board’s decision to suspend the start of school. Schools should not be opened until the budget is fully funded.
We’ve heard a lot about the word “compromise” from some of our County Commissioners. Let me talk about what compromise looks like.
Last year, the School Board presented a budget request for an additional $12 million. It was a positive, forward-thinking budget. It eliminated class fees for most classes. It treated employees the way they should be treated.
And, the County Commission told the Board to go back and cut.
And the Board did cut. They cut $7 million from the initial request.
And the County Commission said they wouldn’t fund that, either.
Ultimately, the County Commission gave the Board just $500,000 of their $12 million request. That’s not much compromise. But, the Board made cuts, people lost their jobs, books weren’t purchased.
I’m asking the County Commission to fully fund the budget. And, I’d like to point out…
Even with this budget, our kids will still go to class in portable tin cans — some of which haven’t even been delivered yet.
Even with this budget, our teachers will remain among the lowest paid in Middle Tennessee.
Even with this budget, our schools lack adequate technology.
Even with this budget, our schools will be using guidance offices as classrooms.
Even with this budget, our school buildings will be overcrowded.
Even with this budget, our PTOs will pay for paper, copiers, playground equipment and other supplies.
Even with this budget, our teachers will still buy their own classroom supplies.
Our kids have already compromised.
Let me be clear: I stand with the School Board. School should not start until the budget is properly funded.