Schools hit hard with proration

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 3, 2001

Friday morning, Gov. Siegelman announced the reduction in expenditures from the Education Trust fund and the prorating of school's budgets by 6.2 percent.

&uot;We will trim administrative expenses.

We will cut special projects.

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We will tighten our belts.

Through it all, we will have one objective:

to ensure the most money possible goes to Alabama classrooms,&uot; said Siegelman.

Butler County stands to lose $886,600 from its planned budget.

Thursday night, the Butler County School Board held a special meeting to make plans for the coming proration.

The first order of business Thursday night was to move for a special election on the school tax referendum.

The tax, which comes up for referendum every 10 years, was defeated in the general election last November.

The ten-mil ad valorem tax generates $1.2 million for Butler county schools and meets the requirements for matching funds from the sate.

The board passed the recommendation and plans to ask for a referendum election in early May.

The second item on the docket accepted the recommendation from the senior classes of Greenville High and McKenzie High to move their graduation ceremonies.

The board agreed and Greenville High will graduate at 10 a.m. on May 19, and McKenzie will follow at 1 p.m.

The last item before the board involved the coming proration.

Dr. Reed announced recommendations on budget cuts. The plan is to hold 20 percent of the teacher supply fund, 100 percent of the unspent textbook fund, 100 percent of the unspent technology fund, 100 percent of the library development fund and to cut many programs scheduled for this year.

The recommendations passed along with a change from block classes to a seven period day next year.

&uot;If these cuts are made, we stand to save $505,554,&uot; said Reed.

The change from block classes to a seven period day schedule means larger classes and less personnel required.

According to Reed, fifteen positions were eliminated last year.

The remaining $381,046 will have to be pulled from the BOE's reserves.

&uot;We feel fortunate to have a reserve, though it's not large.

Most counties do not have what we do,&uot; said Reed.

This dip into the Butler County BOE saving will, according to Reed, all but exhaust it.

With next year expected to be just as bad as this year, personnel may have to be cut.

&uot;Before the summer, we will be looking at cutting personnel and programs.

The certified staff is under contract but we may need to cut other positions,&uot; Reed said.

To add to the frustration, the state has informed the board that monies for payroll may not be available on time.

In order to meet payroll at the usual time, Reed says the BOE is looking into borrowing the money until the state can come through.

The planned reduction will eliminate many supplies and programs.

The current 10 mill ad valorem tax expires in 2002.

Should it not be renewed, Butler County will not meet the requirements of the state for matching funds.

The matched funds from the state currently provide over $12 million to Butler County.

The tax referendum must be passed be voters for the county to receive matching funds from the state.