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City schools will operate on monthly budget through August
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The Gainesville City Board of Education passed a continuing resolution this evening to extend the system’s ability to operate on a monthly budget through August.

The school board unanimously voted to extend the continuing resolution through August to allow the board time to determine which 2009 fiscal year budget cuts will have the smallest affect on classroom instruction.

Members of the board said they were unable to pass a budget for the 2009 fiscal year, which began July 1, by the state Department of Education’s June 30 deadline due to numerous errors made in the district’s accounting department in the past several years.

The board adopted a continuing resolution in late June to allow the school system to operate on a one month budget for July.

David Syfan, chairman of the school board, said the board is working with Janet Allison, director of finance for the school system, to review the tedious details of the budget and the 2007 state audit so that no further errors are made in the budgeting process. Syfan said the board is committed to adopting a budget with which they feel comfortable.

But with Aug. 7, the first day of school, drawing near, the board must decide soon which cuts they will make to the proposed $61.6 million budget for this fiscal year, before certain programs begin.

The board will hold a called meeting at 5 p.m. Monday to take action on “time-sensitive” cuts that will affect students and teachers.

“Certain items we’ve got to do or not do, because you sort of trap people into doing them if we don’t give them notice,” Syfan said. “One example is the day care ... and pre-K.”

Kelvin Simmons, a member of the board’s finance committee, said the board is down to the wire in adopting a budget,

“I think with school opening up in two weeks, we need to get this done this week,” Simmons said. “We have minutes now.”

Simmons and Sammy Smith, board treasurer, comprise the board’s finance committee. They designated Wednesday as a day they could meet with Allison to review specific potential cuts.

Merrianne Dyer, the school system’s new interim superintendent, told the board she wants to review figures in proposed budget reductions for accuracy and impact.

After the finance committee meets with Allison Wednesday, the board may propose budget cuts Monday. The school system’s staff will then review cuts before the board considers them for final action.