County School officials on Tuesday morning made a pitch to County Commission members for $34 million in additional revenue, saying it would be focused on boosting teachers.
The increase would call for a 34-cent property tax increase.
Supt. Bryan Johnson said the funds would allow teachers to get a five percent pay increase and much additional support in the classroom.
It would pay for more school counselors, social workers and behavioral specialists as well as more special education specialists and assistants.
There would be 15 attendance specialists added to try to curb absenteeism.
Some of the money would be used so that most fees now charged parents would be eliminated.
It would pay for enough visual arts teachers so there would be arts programs at least two days per week in the elementary schools.
It would also fund more college and career specialists in the high schools as well as teacher coaches and interventionists.
Supt. Johnson said the schools have made substantial gains since he arrived two years ago. He said students had the highest grade average in several years and the graduation rate is up.
Brent Goldberg, chief financial officer, said the last time the county schools had an increase for operations - other than yearly growth money, one of the board members (Tucker McClendon) was in the third grade.
The schools are slated for $9 million in growth money this year.
The commissioners saw videos about school gains and aspirations, and School Board member Joe Smith told of the importance of students having guidance from caring adults, such as guidance counselors.