The Hamilton County Commission and school board are having a joint meeting tonight to discuss the school system's facilities and funding.
Last month the school board provided the Commission with a priority construction and repair list. Top requests include $35 million for Harrison Elementary, $64 million for a new Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts and $45 million for a new middle school for East Hamilton. The district has more than $200 million in deferred maintenance needs across the county.
The Commission holds the district's pursestrings, and does not seem willing to raise taxes for schools this year and has said there isn't money for new school construction. Hamilton County has not raised property taxes for schools in 12 years.
Hamilton County Schools proposed a budget for this upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1, asking for an additional $32 million. Starting revenue for the upcoming year's budget is estimated at $368.8 million and the district's proposed budget exceeds $397 million.
During a school board finance committee meeting last week, school board member Tiffanie Robinson urged the school district to begin budgeting more strategically. She asked the district to forecast budgets for future years.
Even if the forecasted budgets exceed expected funding levels, it will help the board see budgets that reflect where the district wants to go and why it should fight for increased funding, she said.
"As a school board member I need to understand how far I'm going into the negative next year, the following year, and the year after that," Robinson previously said. "And my hunch is that our funding body would want to see the same thing."