Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson will lead a budget information session at East Ridge High School on Tuesday, May 21, officials said. The budget review is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
Also scheduled to appear with Dr. Johnson is Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger and District 8 School Board member Tucker McClendon.
McClendon said the meeting will center on the $443 million proposed 2020 Hamilton County Department of Education budget. Dr. Johnson is requesting an additional $34 million for operational costs, which likely would mean at least a 34 cent property tax increase for Hamilton County taxpayers. The current tax rate is about $2.76 per $100 of assessed value.
The $34 million would fund additional teachers, counselors, social workers and non-teaching staff. It would also fund a pay raise for teachers.
Earlier this month, McClendon told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that he supported a tax increase to fund new positions. McClendon, a graduate of East Ridge High School was quoted in the Times Free Press as saying, “As someone who went through this system myself without a counselor, without an art teacher, without a social worker, things have changed since 2005. There’s nothing in this binder that does not benefit students. I think the time is now.”
Last week, District 8 Commissioner Tim Boyd had a community meeting in which he disputed HCDE numbers. Boyd told more than 50 people who attended his meeting that he was firmly against a tax increase to fund additional personnel for the schools.