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Budget cuts anticipated for Jefferson schools

POSTED: February 12, 2009 11:54 p.m.

JEFFERSON — Like most other governmental bodies that get funding from the state, the Jefferson City School board is concerned about budget cuts.

During Thursday’s meeting, the board discussed the current status of its finances and anticipated cuts in state funding.

“We have completed 58.33 percent of the year and so far we have received 64.7 percent of our revenue,” said John Jackson, school system superintendent.

“We’re under running our expenditures and I can’t think of a better time to be doing that than now. We’re in budget cutting mode to try and off-set the budget reduction (in state funding) for the current year, although we don’t know exactly how much those budget cuts will be yet.”

So far, system staff estimate that they will lose around $605,000 in state revenue for the current year, a loss that the system wasn’t aware of when they were setting the budget last year.

“These are midstream budget cuts and the only way to off-set them is to cut back on our expenditures,” said Ronnie Hopkins, school board chairman. “If we had known about the budget cuts in the beginning, this would have amounted to about a 2 mil tax increase in order for us to keep the same budget, or we could have budgeted differently if we had known.”

Hopkins says the budget cuts are especially unfair because while the state is cutting the amount of funding that they give schools to educate students, the same standards are in place for student achievement. Also, schools will still be held accountable if students do not make adequate yearly progress.

Hall County school officials are wrestling with having to trim up to $9.9 million out of next year’s budget and the Gainesville school system faces an estimated $5.8 million deficit.

The Jefferson school board meeting was held in the board room in the Jefferson High School Performing Arts Center on Washington Street. In other business the board:

Recognized the achievements of the Jefferson High School Academic Bowl teams.

Received an update from the transportation director. He told the board two additional bus routes had to be added to accommodate increased demand from student riders since returning from Christmas break.



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