Continued state funding cuts have forced Madison County School leaders to try to compensate for a near half-million dollar deficit in this year’s budget without dipping too far into reserves.
Lost state revenue, which includes a recent 1.5 percent QBE reduction, will leave the school system in a $469,862 hole this year. That shortage will mean enacting a hiring freeze, a “soft freeze” on certain expenses and a furlough day for all 230-day employees, as well as using some reserve money, in order to make up the difference.
“That’s the plan to manage the remainder of this school year,” Superintendent Mitch McGhee told the Madison County Board of Education (BOE) Tuesday.
The soft freeze on expenses – mostly regarding items not imperative for this school year – is expected to save around $231,127.
The furlough day (the system calls them “amended calendar days”) for 230-day employees, which the BOE will be asked to approve next month, will save around $50,000. Basically, these employees will not make up a snow day from earlier this year. Employees with a 230-day contract are mostly administrators and principals, but this does include some custodians and maintenance workers, too.
Meanwhile, it’s uncertain exactly how much money the hiring freeze will save the system.
Madison County school leaders will then apply $188,732 of school system reserves to cover any remaining shortfall. That would leave the school system with only 17 days worth of operating funds in reserve in case of an emergency, and school leaders don’t want to dip much further below that number. The state and auditors recommend keeping 20 days worth of reserves on hand, McGhee said.
The system may not have to use the entire $188,732 from reserves depending on how much money the hiring freeze saves.
Madison County has already applied $264,000 worth of reserves to help balance this year’s budget.
McGhee said it’s important to protect that reserve.
“The problem is that — and the reason we need to be so careful about this year — is that next year’s budget is so unknown, and then the year after that (is too),” he said. “We cannot deplete our fund balance and survive the next two years.”
This is what happens when politicians use public schools and education to get elected. Promises of better salaries,smaller classrooms, and more teachers sounds good until it's time to pay for them in a down economy.
We had anywhere from 30-34 kids in a classroom when I was in school. Only one teacher who usually had no problems controlling the students or teaching them the lessons for the day.
Now, there are 40% less students with a teacher and a parapro(?)struggling to teach SOCIAL STUDIES(much less math) to a classroom that is chaotic and out of control.
I don't think public education will last another 50 years the way that it's going. Everyone will be home schooled by their computers by then. The social interaction that most think is important is already lessened by this generations ability to communicate with their fingers and thumbs rather than their voices and body language.
Computers won't demand tenure,won't belong to a powerful political lobbyist union,and can be easily replaced once they become outdated.
Sounds good to me.