Jessica Cross, Staff Writer
Tommy Millsaps, Editor
Monroe County Director of Schools Mike
Lowry is responding to concerns raised by the county's finance
director, Libby Hicks, about a number of school system hires in the
past budget year.
"There was a reason for every single
one," said Lowry.
During the May 28 County Commission
meeting, Hicks had defended the Finance Department after the school
system's maintenance director had questioned where more than $350,000
of his funds went.
Hicks turned the tables and said money
was not missing but was moved at the direction of Lowry. She then
questioned how the director of schools funded recent hires in the
"The money has to come from
somewhere," Hicks said.
She then said Lowry had unwisely used
non-reoccurring stimulus funds to pay for permanent positions.
Lowry explained that with Jobs funds,
there is more of a flexibility on how the money can be used.
"We didn't hire the people Mrs. Hicks
is talking about because we simply had the extra Jobs money," he
said. "We hired them because we were going to need them anyway."
Lowry on Thursday issued a responded to
Hicks' statements about his hiring practices. Lowry said he asked
Hicks for a list of the hires she was referring to.
"The federal Jobs Grant enabled
Tennessee's school systems to stabilize their budget during an
economic crisis," Lowry said. "This actually helped preserve jobs
for teachers teachers and support staff who would have lost their
jobs without this money, causing a hardship on their families and the
local economy as well."
Due to increases in enrollment at some
schools, additional teachers had to be added to meet the required
teacher/pupil ratio numbers mandated by the state, said Lowry. In
addition, some positions Hicks listed were also just replacements for
retiring teachers or outgoing staff.
Lowry's response outlined who the hires
were and why the hires were needed and how they were paid for:
See full story in the Sunday, June 9, edition of The Advocate & Democrat.