Hamilton County school budget meetings continue as commissioner questions possible tax increase

District 8 Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd is seen during a County Commission meeting in the County Commission assembly room at the Hamilton County Courthouse on Wednesday, April 17, 2019, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger and Schools Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson spoke in favor of the school board's proposed $34 million revenue increase for next year at a meeting convened by District 8 school board member Tucker McClendon last week.

Johnson told the crowd of about 22, which included nine employees of the school system, that the budget is "a statement of values," and said the additional $34 million would fund social workers, guidance counselors, teacher support staff, truancy officers and teacher raises.

Coppinger said he believed Johnson "had gotten all he could" out of existing revenues and that the superintendent "could not take the school system to the next level" without a tax increase, which would be necessary if the county is to fully fund the school district's budget request.