In April, the School Board approved the 2017 Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) Budget. The new budget proposes an increase in school spending by $33,793,866 requesting a total of $385,051,862 for Hamilton County public schools. This year, our school system budget is linked to student outcomes focused on system wide priorities including: workforce readiness, improved literacy, and a renewed focus on priority schools. We applaud the school system for dedicating time, resources, and money towards ensuring there are highly effective teachers in the classrooms of our most vulnerable students.
FY 2017 Budget Overview
Base Budget Starting Point: $351,257,996
Budget for Strategic Focus Areas: $ 33,793,866
Total Requested Budget for FY 2017: $385,051,862
Workforce Readiness Priorities: In Hamilton County, 94% of students with Career/Technical Education (CTE) concentrations matriculate to postsecondary placements related to their concentration. Currently, 1 in 30 (3%) students complete a certificate. In 3 years, Hamilton County would like to see 1 in 7 (14%) students complete a certificate.
Budget Allocation: $19,166,917
Literacy Across the Curriculum Priorities: In 2015, 45% of our students were reading on grade level. In 3 years, HCDE would like to see 60% of students reading on grade level. In 2015, the average ACT Composite Score was 19. In three years, HCDE hopes the average ACT score moves up to 21 enabling students to qualify for the HOPE Scholarship.
Budget Allocation: $7,205,059
Priority School Focus: HCDE wants to put more focus on priority schools in our county by: extending support beyond iZone schools to all schools near priority status, increase instructional supports tailored to specific priority schools and student populations, strategically recruit and retain highly effective teachers and leaders in priority schools, increase support for the growing English Language Learners (ELL) population, and build connections for students and families to basic medical care through telemedicine and clinic-in-schools program.
Budget Allocation: $5,713,080
System Wide Priorities: HCDE is requesting an increase in the Capital Maintenance Budget for building repairs and maintenance, contractual increases for transportation plus 2 additional buses and the remaining cost of 4 buses bought last year, and the increase in utilities to pay for increased electricity and water/sewer rates.
Budget Allocations: $1,708,810
Hamilton County is at a crossroads for change and the Hamilton County Department of Education is taking a step in the right direction with this year’s school budget by aligning dollars spent with student outcome goals. The Department of Education will present the budget to County Commission for final approval in May. Stay tuned for more information.