Funding remains a concern for the Trousdale County school system, members of the Education Committee heard during a Nov. 9 meeting.

Director of Schools Clint Satterfield presented committee members with a quarterly financial report, while noting that the schools’ fund balance has dwindled significantly over the last two-plus years.

“W are trying our best to hold that, but we’ve gone from $4.5 million to an estimated $1.8 million,” Satterfield said. “We just won’t be able to run schools much longer with that kind of deficit.”

Satterfield has previously cited a loss of state funding through the Basic Education Program (BEP) because of greater fiscal capacity (ability to pay) by Trousdale County. In addition, fixed costs such as insurance have continued to increase. Overtime costs for non-certified staff has also risen because of the need to disinfect school buildings each day, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The school system has also had to purchase some personal protective equipment (PPE) such as rubber gloves. The state has provided PPE to school districts as well.

“You can expect the board to be coming to the County Commission asking for revenue to fill this void,” Satterfield said. “I don’t want that to be a surprise to anyone.”

Through the first quarter of the 2020-21 fiscal year, Satterfield noted that revenues to the school system were running roughly $70,000 above the same point last year, while expenses were down by $111,000 compared to 2019-20.

Trousdale County Schools have 23 fewer students compared to this time last year, Satterfield reported. That could lower the state’s BEP funding, which is based on student enrollment.

Several districts have asked the state legislature to adjust the BEP formula to hold schools harmless with regards to funding. Commission Chairman Dwight Jewell said he felt the General Assembly would look favorably on such requests, based on conversations with various legislators.

Satterfield also updated committee members on work on the middle school roof, which is coming along well.

Asked about the effects of COVID-19 on students and teachers, Satterfield said there were seven staff members quarantined as of Nov. 6, but that no new cases among staff or students had been reported to the state.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

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