Kingsport City Schools consists of 13 schools ranging from Pre-K to High School. The system’s vision is, “Student Focused … World Class,” which includes the commitment to delivering world-class curriculum and instruction to all students, as well providing committed and innovative educators. In doing so, it is vital that funds are distributed appropriately to ensure world-class instruction and to recruit and retain top employees.
The following information is a snapshot of the 2016-2017 fiscal year (FY) to provide a better understanding of how funds were allocated, and how those results affected the financial operations of the system as a whole. A KCS fiscal year (FY) ends on June 30.
District operations are comprised of four different funds: General Purpose School Fund, School Nutrition Services Fund, Federal School Projects Fund and School Special Projects Fund. Overall disbursements totaled $82.0 million for FY 2016-2017. Below is a breakdown of each fund.
The General Purpose School Fund provides the resources necessary to sustain the day-to-day activities and pays for the majority of administrative and operating expenses. This encompasses approximately 90 percent of all employees (salaries/benefits), instruction/instructional support, operations/maintenance, utilities, student transportation, technology, professional development, human resources, insurance, support services and administration. For FY 2016-2017, the expenditures were $73.1 million.
School Nutrition Services Fund disbursements totaled $3.6 million for FY 2016-2017 for all operating costs of food service, including administrative support, costs of utilities, maintenance, warehousing, insurance and accounting. This fund is totally self-supporting and is operated under the federally funded National School Lunch and Child Nutrition Acts. No General Purpose fund support is required for the fund as revenues are derived primarily from food sales and Federal and State aid.
Federal School Projects Fund disbursements totaled $4.0 million for the 2016-2017 FY. The two federal programs that are the largest sources of federal funding, as well as mandates are: Title I grants (the main source of federal funding for the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act) and IDEA grants (special education funding under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IEDA)). In addition, financial support is given to other federal projects such as Title II and the Carl D. Perkins Vocational & Applied Technology Entitlement grant.
The last fund, School Special Projects had $1.3 million in disbursements. These funds help finance ASC departments such as the Family Resource Center, the Homeless Education program and Pre-K programs. It also serves as a pool of grant funding for any grant that has been awarded to a teacher or school and serves as a resource where teachers/schools could pull funds to implement a project the classroom. Funding for grants comes from various resources ranging from federal, state and local donors.
KCS averages one teacher for every 20 students. It is vital that the district recruits and retains exceptional employees in all areas. During FY 2016-2017, all classified employees received a two percent cost of living increase, as well as their normal step increase.Starting in 2014-15 FY, KCS began utilization of a strategic compensation plan. FY 2016-17 was the second year of the new single lane teacher pay scale. There were two adjustments to the teacher pay scale. The first was to increase the whole scale by $1,100, and the second was to increase the bottom and top of the scale by five steps.
In maintaining a world-class educational approach, KCS continued the phase-in of a 1:1 laptop program for students in grades 4-12. All students in grades 4-6 were issued a technology device. There were a total of 1,800 devices purchased at a cost of $403,200.
Beginning in 2014, Kingsport City Schools and Sullivan County Schools began a comprehensive facilities master plan. Both districts hired an educational planning consultant. The consultant came back with a two-phase facilities plan. Phase One for Kingsport City Schools called for the addition of a science and technology center at Dobyns-Bennett High School, the transfer of Sullivan north high School from Sullivan County to Kingsport City Schools, moving John Sevier Middle school to the former Sullivan North High School, moving Jackson Elementary School to the former John Sevier Middle School, and closing Jackson Elementary School. During FY 2016-2017, Kingsport City Schools hired and worked with Perkins+Will architects to design the addition of the science and technology center addition to Dobyns-Bennett. In December 2016, Sullivan County approved a $140 million bond issue to fun Phase One. Kingsport City Schools share of those funds was $45,281,287. Of these funds, $20,000,000 were used to purchase Sullivan North High School, $22,000,000 was allocated for the construction of the science and technology center, and the remainder was set aside for renovation to Sullivan North High school and the current Dobyns-Bennett facility. Construction of the science and technology center will begin during FY 2017-2018.
Finally, KCS undertakes a comprehensive budget process each year. In early December, a discussion of the budget process and approaching timeline is held with the Board of Education (BOE). In mid-December, budget materials are sent to principals/administrators, who prepare for budget requests. By mid-January, budget materials are returned to the Chief Finance Officer. In late January/mid-February, the Budget Review Committee meets to hear budget presentations from principals/administrators. In February and March, the Budget Review Committee and staff compile a recommended budget to present to the Board in April. Upon review, the Board will approve the budget in May. Once the Board approves the KCS budget, it is then presented to the Board of Mayor and Alderman during their May meeting. Upon review and approval, funds are distributed to the four KCS funds. All meetings are open to the public.
KCS prides itself on being fiscally responsible by allocating nearly 75 percent of funds toward direct education/instruction.