Some students in Sumner County rallied Friday to encourage county commissioners to approve the school board budget and allow them to get back in the classroom.
The battle between schools and commissioners has already delayed the start of classes by a week, and the earliest school could now start is Wednesday.
But the students said they are starting to see how not going to school will impact them. For instance, if school doesn't start soon, some athletes may not be able to compete in games this season. And as those students rally for a fully-funded district, commissioners are working to see if they can afford the school board's requests.
Commissioners had voted Monday to shuffle $2.2 million in capital funds to the school system, but that was far short of the more than $7 million school leaders had originally sought.
In response Thursday, the school board trimmed its funding request by just over $1 million. They want to show county commissioners they're willing to negotiate and end the budget stalemate.
"We're still digging, looking at this. It's not that simple. We're not just going to take $3 million from there and have it done," said Commissioner Joe Matthews.
The county commission is scheduled to meet again Monday at 7 p.m., and the school board will then call another special meeting to consider the commission's moves.
As they work through the budget differences, school board members have stood firm that laying off teachers or trimming pay is not an option.
But they did agree Thursday to eliminate a request for eight new guidance counselors for high schools and voted to eliminate $400,000 they now contribute to an adult education program.
The district has kept a 3 percent pay increase for teachers, which would be their first raise in five years.
The sides hope the county can find the funds for adult education in its budget.
About 28,000 students attend public schools in Sumner County.
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