With the deadline gone for the state to put an end to the budget impasse, at least without a supermajority, schools are left wondering how long they’ve got to keep their doors open.
With reimbursements for state-mandated programs not fulfilled and general reserves being depleted some schools are at the edge of borrowing to stay open, or closing their doors to keep the district from growing debt.
Knoxville Superintendent Steve Wilder told WGIL that Knoxville could open at the start of the year, but would not have the funds to finish the school year.
“If we opened on day on in August like we have scheduled to and there was not a budget in place we would not be able to make it through the school year,” Wilder says. “We’re probably looking at some time in early spring. We’ll get through Christmas but how far we make it after that is a different ball game.”
Wilder also says that the governor’s push for property tax freezes would also be devastating to school districts because costs continue to rise and property taxes help elevates those increases.
He says there are already property tax controls in place already, because voters have to approve the increases before they can take effect.