CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. — Carter County schools are facing a potential loss of more than $600,000 of state dollars next school year. Assistant Director of Schools Peggy Campbell said they've dealt with funding losses before by not replacing retiring teachers.
"This year, we hope to be able to do that in all situations,” Campbell said. “But if we have to, we will remove other teachers."
Seventy-five percent of the county's school funding comes from Tennessee Basic Education Program money. Those state funds are based on enrollment. This year, the county lost about 90 students.
That’s a much larger reduction than usual, but Campbell said she is confident they can find ways to reduce the budget without affecting the quality of education. That could be difficult since 85 percent of the budget pays for teachers, leaving not much else to cut.
"Our number one thing, we always want to have quality teachers for each of our students and provide them with a quality education,” Campbell said.
It's not just Carter County dealing with losses. Unicoi County Director of Schools John English said there's been a drop every year in enrollment in the system there.
"From the time the railroad left, we've been feeling the impact of jobs here in our county,” English said. “and that's certainly impacted our enrollment."
Carter County is in the budgeting process now, trying to find ways to balance it.
"It is very challenging but I assure you we're working hard,” Campbell said.
A presentation to the county commission is set for April 29.