The budget for the county school system is developed by the director of schools and board chair and presented to the full board for its consideration. The budget developed by the director and board chair must be prepared according to the revenue estimates and revenue determinations made by the county legislative body as required in T.C.A. § 49-2-101. When the school budget has been approved by the board, it must be submitted to the county legislative body not later than 45 days prior to the July meeting of the county legislative body or 45 days prior to the actual date the budget is to be adopted, if such adoption is scheduled prior to July 1. T.C.A. § 49-2-203(a)(10). Local option budgeting laws and private acts that may be in effect in a particular county will affect the budgeting process and must be consulted.
Under most circumstances, the legislative body either accepts the school budget as submitted by the school board or rejects it, in which case the budget is sent back to the school board with a specified amount of total funding. The school board then revises the specific items to conform with the total appropriated amount. In counties operating under the County Financial Management System of 1981, T.C.A. § 5-21-101 et seq., the county legislative body may alter or revise the total amount of expenditures proposed by the school board in its budget as long as it is in compliance with state law and regulations, and then the director of schools is required to submit a revised budget with the total expenditures approved by the county legislative body within 10 days. The Local Option Budgeting Law of 1993, T.C.A. § 5-12-201 et seq., contains provisions that allow the county legislative body to revise the school budget under specified circumstances, but this law applies only in counties that have adopted its provisions. Regardless of the procedure used to adopt the budget, once a school budget has passed, amendments must be approved by the school board and by the county legislative body. T.C.A. §§ 5-9-407, 49-2-301(b)(1)(W).