By Graham Sweeney
Collierville School’s $100.8 million budget, the highest to date, was discussed at the town’s recent Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting.
Superintendent Dr. Gary Lilly presented the general fund budget to Board members during a public hearing on Monday night.
Lilly noted that $43.9 million of funding would come from county tax revenue estimates for the upcoming year, while $48.2 million would come from the state’s Basic Education Program, which is the funding formula “through which state education dollars are generated and distributed to Tennessee schools.”
“Next year will be the final year of the current funding formula, which we’ve had since 1993,” Lilly said.
After years of reform, the school district will soon receive funding from the new Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA) law.
“This will represent a substantial increase in funding from the state in the $6-to-$8-million range,” Lilly said.
TISA was approved on April 28, the last day of this year’s legislative session. With the new law, Tennessee joins 38 other states and Washington, D.C. in “having some type of student-based funding model.”
“TISA sets a base funding rate of $6,860 per pupil, then distributes additional funding for students who are from economically disadvantaged families, have unique learning needs, or live in rural or impoverished communities,” said Marta W. Aldrich, senior statehouse correspondent for Chalkbeat.
The town of Collierville will also contribute $2.5 million to the school system in the 2022/23 fiscal year.
Some additional expenditures this year will include four teaching positions at Collierville High School, three positions at Sycamore Elementary School, which is the only brick-and-mortar elementary school taking transfers from districts outside of the town, $4 million in additional Apple devices and services, $265,000 in additional investments in online curriculum, $87,000 in theatre arts, orchestra and band instruments, and $300,000 in bus driver salaries and asphalt repairs at Collierville Elementary.
Chalk boards in the schools will also all be replaced with white boards at a cost of $50,000.
When Vice Mayor Maureen Fraser asked if the district would still be using Durham buses for transit in the future, Lilly said it would.
He noted that Durham recently lost drivers to Shelby County Schools due to discrepancies in pay but that was changing.
Lilly was also asked about the possibility of opening a ninth grade academy.
He said that the wings of the new high school were meant to be extended to accommodate more students.
“That will hold for awhile,” he said. “At some point we will need to look at an academy.”
He said a potential location for the ninth grade building would be on the same campus as the high school.
“That would be an efficient use of resources,” he conclude.