School Board Cuts Own Pay



D-5 Freddie Walker (l), D-3 Larry Bass (m), D-1 Scotty Newman (r)

Not all Board members go along with Board's Pay Cut!

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By: Pat Hunter


At least four of the ten Loudon County Board of Education members didnít want to cut out their own pay from the FY 08-09 School Budget Cuts list. Can you guess who they are?


At Thursday's, School Board meeting, cuts and reductions to the School Budget were discussed and voted upon. This year's final School Budget is a little over $2 Million in proposed new spending.


Highland Park District 6, Steve Harrelson started off by saying that he really hated that he was being put in the position of having to bring the subject up. Harrelson commented how some School Board members were thinking about cutting out travel, retreat, conferences and other travel things. He thought that Board salaries should remain and be added back to the School Budget to help offset certain required meetings. D-5 June Klinstiver mentioned that only one conference would be required. The State had charged of a program so Board classes and trips would likely be reduced. Chairman Bobby Johnson, Jr. mentioned to Harrelson that an amendment to the original motion would be needed.  Harrelson is the Lenoir City Recreation's Director and Bobby Johnson, Jr., works for the Lenoir City Recreation's Dept. 


Harrelson thought that receiving a paycheck should be an individual decision and if a School Board member wanted to donate their salary back to help the budget, that it should be a personal decision.


D-6 Steve Harrelson made an amendment to the motion to add the Board Salaries back to the School Budget, which was seconded by D-2 Larry Proaps. Voting No were Leroy Tate, June Klinstiver, Freddie Gene Walker, Nancy Paule, Scotty Newman, Bill Marcus. And voting Yes were Steve Harrelson, Larry Proaps, Larry Bass, Bobby Johnson, Jr.    


D-2 Larry Proaps seemed to feel like Harrelson, if School Board members wanted to donate their salaries that was great. He said that Loudon County Commissioners had raised their salary by $2700 in the last two years and that was almost what the school board made. He didn't know if that sent a good message or not but that it "chapped him" in place's that he didn't like. 


On May 21, 2008, School Board member Larry Proaps attended Finance 101 held by Commissioner Don Miller, Tellico Village resident and retired executive of Exxon Corp, oil giant, basking in Billions of Profits. At Commissioner Miller's Finance 101 Class, Proaps confronted Miller and asked if commissioners were willing to cut their pay and Miller replied, yes.  Proaps commented that commission's pay would pay for two teachers. 


But, when it came to School Board members facing a cut to their own pay ($3,600 yearly), Larry Proaps, Steve Harrelson, Larry Bass and Chairman Bobby Johnson, Jr., did not want to do away with their own cut in pay.  


The majority of the School Board members Nancy Paule, June Klinstiver, Freddie Walker, Bill Marcus, Scott Newman and Leroy Tate had their way. The Noís prevailed and the School Board's Salary was cut from the budget.


NOTE: Loudon County Commissioners have not rescinded their action concerning the yearly automatic ten percent (10%) pay raise, which is calculated on the County Mayor's yearly salary. The County Mayor is one of the highest paid county officials. One year ago, commissioners gave themselves a hefty pay increase and a commissioner's pay went from $6,000 to $7,559 (est.) This year, commissioner's proposing paying themselves $8,437 or $84,368 for all ten commissioners.