Hamilton County commissioners just finished a budget hearing with Hamilton County Department of Education officials, who told the county they still are trying to figure out how to close $14.3 million budget deficit.
Superintendent Jim Scales, who is in the process of having his contract bought out by board members, told commissioners that board members passed a continuation budget rather than make several controversial cuts he had proposed.
“The budget we presented was balanced, but there were some very, very steep cuts,” Scales said.
Commissioners asked few questions. Commissioner Tim Boyd said he was unhappy with the size of the central office and that his constituents had to pay fees and buy supplies to attend school. Commissioner Fred Skillern wanted to know “where the shortfall would be spent” if the county had the money.
Afterward Skillern and Commission Chairman Larry Henry said much of the shortfall is caused by grants that are running out. Commissioners expect to see the school system’s new budget by June 15th. Henry and Skillern said the hearing was just a formality.
“By law they have to come, and by law we have to hear them, and by law they can put it off,” Skillern said.
For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Dan Whisenhunt covers Hamilton County government for the Times Free Press. A native of Mobile, Ala., Dan earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Alabama. He won first place for best in-depth news coverage in the 2010 Alabama Press Association contest; the FOI-First Amendment Award in the 2007 Alabama Press Association contest; first place for best public service story in the Alabama AP Managing Editors contest in 2009 for economic coverage; and ...