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Superintendent to start cutting next year's budget
Initial budget estimates call for $9.7 million deficit
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On Tuesday night, the Board of Education gave Superintendent Dr. Steve Whatley permission to start making cuts to next year’s fiscal year budget, including personnel, after he informed them the school was looking at an initial $9.7 million deficit.

The cuts would not take effect until the beginning of FY2011, July 1, and not until the budget is approved by the BOE. Following the meeting, Sherri Viniard, public relations director for the school system, said this approval means Whatley can start planning cuts and notifying any staff and faculty members if they are likely to be cut.

The county’s property tax digest has not been finalized, but based on preliminary numbers Whatley said ad valorem tax revenue would drop more than $6 million to $43 million. In addition revenue from the state, Quality Basic Education funding, was expected to drop by $7.74 million to $85.3 million.

Overall, the schools system would receive $17 million less in revenue this year than it budgeted for this past fiscal year, giving it a new total budget of $134.5 million.

“Cuts will be made in system level and school level positions, both certified and classified, and some work days will be reduced,” said Whatley in a memo to the BOE. In his recommendation he asked for and received authority to “make related personnel cuts in the teaching, classified, support and administrative staff as well as to the benefits program.”

According to the memo, school system officials have already developed a method for determining which staff members will be cut, though details were not released.

In related news, six staff members will be retiring, one in April, one in August and four at the end of this school year. Three employees resigned, two more will resign over the next couple months and one employee was terminated in April.

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