JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

The predicament faced by the school board: how to make nearly three million dollars in cuts to the budget.

"They're tearing our city all to pieces," Tom Hager said.

Strong words voiced by the Johnson City School Board member toward three city commissioners.

"Three guys who grew up here, went to Science Hill High School, got a terrific education," Hager continued. "They put us in this predicament."

The predicament faced by the school board: how to make nearly three million dollars in cuts to the Johnson City Schools budget.

"We had to make several very painful cuts," said Board Chair Kathy Hall. "We got to the point that we just couldn't cut anymore. We cut about one point seven million dollars out of an already tight, tight budget."

On the chopping block: 600,000 dollars out of textbooks, several teaching positions and cuts to school safety programs. But the board stopped short of major cuts to athletic, band, music and art programs and academic coaching positions.

"We got to the point where we just could not make those cuts without going back to our city commission and saying we need one point one more million dollars," Hall said.

So, a motion was made and approved to send the one point one million dollar unbalanced schools budget back to the city commission, putting the ball back in their court.

"It would be unfair of us to not give that one more try," Hall said. "Before we tell our coaches they're not going to be coaching this year or our band camp do not start in July or our arts and our music teachers that you don't have a job and we feel we really need to go back one more time and say this is the amount of dollars we need."

Hall told us that a proposed property tax hike for city residents would have sure helped their budget woes. But, the Johnson City Commission hasn't included the property tax hike in its amended budget thus far.