Kingsport City Schools Chief Finance Officer David Frye presented a generally rosy 2019-20 financial picture, saying that while the system’s average daily membership may fall, KCS might actually get a slight boost in funding shared among the Sullivan County, Kingsport, Bristol, and Johnson City school systems.
He said what appears to be a slight dip in property tax revenue likely will be made up by increases in the Basic Education Program (BEP) and an increase in sales taxes beyond what has been projected. Sullivan County property tax may be more than $300,000 short, but he said Sullivan County’s average daily attendance likely will fall more percentage-wise than Kingsport’s.
He said another property tax hit is coming because Hawkins County, in which part of Kingsport is located, took 13 cents of the property tax rate away from education and put it toward capital projects.
On the expenditures side, he said the system had to hire some additional teacher to meet pupil-teacher ratio requirements at certain schools, despite the overall decrease in the number of students.
MID-YEAR PROGRESS REPORT
Superintendent Jeff Moorhouse gave the board a rundown on the system’s progress for 2019-20 year after presenting details on the Pathways brochure outlining programs that move students forward to careers in things like health care and information technology, school system goals for 2020. He said there’s a “lot of momentum going on” in the system.
High points included the opening of the new Regional Science and Technology Complex, the new front door and home to science, technology, engineering and math at D-B, and 10 schools receiving a perfect 100 on Tennessee health inspections, with three others getting a 99, 98 and 97, respectively. The system also has hired three principals and an interim principal and started a micro-credential pilot program with Radford University and has kicked off a project-based learning program and BioBuilder curriculum.
Another milestone is the first annual KCS Data Dashboard, which included academic achievement and growth along with other things such as arts and athletics. The system also tenured 27 teachers recently, hired 31 new teachers plus some interims and hired 170 classified employees from November of 2018 to November of 2019. Moorhouse said the annual turnover for classified employees annually is 30%, but only 3% for certified employees. He also said the addition of Camelot counselors at the elementary level, supplementing Frontier Health counselors at the middle and high school levels, will address mental health needs across the system.
He also lauded the Sequoyah Scribe, Sevier Middle’s newspaper, for wining the National Scholastic Press Association’s Pacemaker Award, making it the only Tennessee student paper to win and the only middle school paper in the nation to win, along with accomplishments in various sports and band.