The Hamblen County school board unanimously approved a $104.5 million budget Tuesday night during its regularly scheduled meeting, paving the way for the Hamblen County Commission to approve it as part of the county’s overall budget.

About $110,000 in cuts were made to the budget, as the school system still had a shortfall. But, it comes just weeks after the commission approved an increase of $620,000 in the school budget to make up for a $731,000 shortfall.

“We’d like to publicly express our appreciation for the County Commission,” Dr. Jeff Perry, Hamblen County school superintendent, said.

The cuts made to the school budget to make up for the shortfall included buying less school buses the next fiscal year and a reduction in the land acquisition budget.

“Where does this put our fund balance?” Dr. Joe Gibson, chairman of the board, asked.

School officials told Gibson it would not affect the fund balance because cuts were made instead of dipping into the school’s reserves.

The County Commission’s Budget Committee approved the $620,000 addition almost three weeks ago and is the largest infusion of money from the county into the school system in years, County Mayor Bill Brittain said recently. The commission approved for the money to be part of its maintenance of effort, which means the money will be recurring from year to year instead of just being a one-time expenditure.

The school budget will now be voted on during a special-called meeting on July 1 by the County Commission to approve the overall county budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Also, during the meeting, Perry introduced three new members of the administrative staff to the school board.

Brandon Olson has been named principal of West Elementary School, Sarah Cooper as assistant principal at Morristown-Hamblen High School East and Derek Voiles has been named as an assistant principal at Lincoln Heights Middle School.

Cooper has been a teacher at Fairview-Marguerite Elementary School for the last eight years before coming to East High School. She said she grew up in Hamblen County and is a “product of Hamblen County schools.”

Olson started student teaching at East High School then later taught science at East High School. He said he “got the itch” to become an administrator, so he left Hamblen for Greene County schools for a year.

He said after a year, he decided he wanted to “come back home.”

The last new administrator, Voiles, has been a longtime teacher at Lincoln Heights Middle School, instructing seventh-grade English. He won state Teacher of the Year in 2017.

The Hamblen County school board will next meet Tuesday, July 9 at the Hamblen County Department of Education building.