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Funding changes could be hard on Roane

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By The Staff

By DAMON LAWRENCE

rclawrence@bellsouth.net

The school system continues to sound the alarm about state funding.

Earlier this year, Roane County Schools business manager Eric Harbin told board members that the funding formula the state used to allocate money to school systems resulted in less state money for Roane County.

Director of Schools Toni McGriff said the future points to more of the same.

“We expect to get hit again next year,” McGriff told board members last week.

Rachel Woods, communications director for the Tennessee Department of Education, said the state is shifting its funding model.

When determining how much money to allocate to a school system, Woods said the state looks at fiscal capacity, which is the ability of a local government to fund education.

Property tax and sales tax are the main sources of revenue for counties.

The new funding model relies heavily on those two factors to determine a county’s ability to pay.

“If you just look at those bases and add them up, you can do a comparison county-to-county to see which county has the ability to raise the most funds,” Woods said. “So, obviously, a county with a lot of wealthy property is going to have the ability to raise more property tax revenue.”

Some agencies in Roane County make in-lieu-of-tax payments.

According to Roane County Property Assessor Teresa Kirkham, in-lieu-of-tax means payment of taxes in a reduced rate for some type of investment in the county.

Philip Scharre, manager of community and economic development for TVA, said tax breaks are among the top 10 factors companies consider when they are looking to locate somewhere.