Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson says, "It's not okay" that the school system lags behind other Tennessee school systems in teacher pay and facilities funding.  He will be asking school board members to endorse his request for a 7% funding increase for the upcoming school year, from approximately $409 million to $443 million. Johnson is aware that some residents and some Hamilton County commissioners might balk at the request, but he calls it "the answer to what we're hearing from our parents and community leaders."

Johnson says the school system is "the fastest improving school district in the state," but faces challenges recruiting and retaining quality teachers. He also cites a need for more school counselors, improved security, an expansion of Future Ready Institutes, more attention to special education, and increased capital improvement funding.

He says a funding increase is necessary to implement the system's Future Ready 2023 Five Year Action Plan.

Board members are discussing the request at Thursday's monthly meeting. A final budget request will be presented to County Commissioners in early May. Mayor Jim Coppinger has expressed support for Dr. Johnson's programs, but a potential property tax increase could be a tougher sell.

Here's the full budget proposal:

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