CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The 2015-16 draft budget for Bradley County Schools presents problems, including whether to pay for instructional coaching and after-school programming, officials said.
In a recent meeting, interim Schools Director Scott Humberd described a number of "challenges" the school board would need to address within the proposed $69.6 million budget.
"The state funding for extended contracts, which pays for our after-school activities ... is no longer available and has been cut," Humberd said. That money "has been spiraling down for years," he added.
In recent years at least half of those contracts, awarded to school- or district-level educators, went to programs directed toward remediation and at-risk needs, after-school enrichment programming and professional development.
Dan Glasscock, director of secondary education for the county schools, said the system used to get $275,000 for the contracts. Last year, the funding dropped to $75,000, he said.
Humberd also noted the end of federal funding for a district-level math coordinator.
The position was created last year using Race to the Top money, said Terri Murray, director of federal programs for Bradley County Schools.
"It was such a needed position and we did not have the money to fund it in the regular budget," said Murray. She said the system hopes to move the position to the regular budget.
The math coordinator meets with all teachers to analyze student data, helps instructional coaches with planning and assists with staff development, she said.
"This position is needed really bad," Murray said.
Board member Chris Turner took issue with the use of grant money to create positions that later turn into locally funded jobs.
"My personal opinion is that grants are seed money to retool and reinvest," Turner said. "They're not expansions of spending, and unfortunately our school system has approached it as an expansion of spending."
Board member Rodney Dillard expressed support for keeping the district-level math coordinator for now and letting the future schools director evaluate the position's worth.
"All seven [board members have] said we wanted to improve academics," he said. "To me there's no debate on it; nitpicking this budget is not going to help us this year."
The Bradley County Board of Education will next meet on May 4.
Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.