Madison County school leaders will have to sharpen the budget ax again for 2010-2011.
After cutting $2.9 million from this year’s budget — and perhaps more still — school leaders may have to slash an additional $3 million for 2010-2011.
Nothing is official at this point, Madison County Schools Superintendent Mitch McGhee said, as local school boards still await a much-anticipated, finalized state budget.
“This is not set in stone,” he said. “It is conjecture … Nobody knows for sure.”
What state school systems do know is that half of the 2010-2011 ARRA funds (federal money) set aside for education next year have already been exhausted by Gov. Sonny Perdue. Perdue applied them to this year’s shortfall.
“Which makes next year’s budget picture even worse,” McGhee said.
With state revenue struggling (though Georgia posted a one percent increase in March 2010 compared to March 2009), McGhee estimates that Madison County could lose up to $3 million in 2010-2011 in addition to the $2.9 million it lost this year.
That likely means at least five furloughs (Madison County calls them “amended calendar days”) next year, and not re-staffing a portion of the 14 job vacancies it will have after this year.
Other cost cutting measures include consolidating bus routes, further reduction of the central office budget and taking $1 million more from reserves.
“That will be the most we’ve ever hit the reserves,” McGhee said.
Deeper cuts — which are likely — include cutting some supplemental support, combining some classified positions, having elementary schools share certified employees, adding another furlough day and going to larger classroom sizes which would allow the school system to hire less teachers. There’s legislation pending to allow school systems exercise that freedom.
Even at that, those cuts might not be enough to cover the potential $3 million shortfall.
“There are some folks who say even if we did all of that, it still wouldn’t be enough to handle what may be coming down from the state legislature here at the end of the month,” McGhee said.
But the news gets worse.
McGhee said 2011-2012 could be even tougher with no ARRA funds coming to state schools.
That means Georgia would have to generate enough money to equal the ARRA funds lost for schools to avoid even further cuts that year.
With that in mind, McGhee stressed the importance of maintaining a healthy fund balance to protect the system during these lean years.
“We can’t go in and totally deplete our reserves,” McGhee said.
Despite the doom and gloom, McGhee did say Madison County is doing well compared to some of its contemporaries.
“We are in better shape than a lot of systems,” McGhee said. “In fact, we are probably in better shape than most systems, but nobody in public education, financially, is good shape right now.”
04/23/10 at 09:22 PM
Yep just as I figured when you need to cut money just take it from the kids. These people think the kids don't matter they are just kids. I got an Ideal. Why not start holding all the classes outside? No need for lights and AC outside. That will save a chunk on the power bill.
Generally agree with Redneck but not on this one. School admin / coaches / teachers salaries and benefits are out of line with the rest of us. I know you will see people object but then that is the way of the teaching profession since 1970 time period. Teachers and all good people but just like Ford / GM workers that use to get 50 to 60 hour that is not what the system will bear. If you tax the general population more you will have more homes in foreclosure-people in their homes without lights and AC but then as kid in south in 50/60s we had no AC and did OK so maybe AC is now just for the RICH ? Time for teachers to take 25% pay/benefit cuts just like city of Atlanta realigning pension plan time durations and all. My view.
04/26/10 at 08:35 AM
No Taxpayor we said about the same thing just in different ways. I was pointing out that if they held the classes outside they wouldn't need lights or AC? Now days if people ain't got AC going they call it "roughing it". I remember my parents talking about going to school in a 2 room school house back in Tennessee and they didn't have AC but they got an Education. Kids today are spoiled they got to have the best of everything and if they can't get the best cell phone, the best I POD, the best video game system they think they are poor.
We are getting away from what really matters? Now days it's all about MONEY!