State budget cuts force the Muscogee County school board to make - WRBL

State budget cuts force the Muscogee County school board to make some tough decisions

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COLUMBUS, GA -

During a special called board meeting on Monday, Interim Superintendent Dr. John Phillips presented a proposed cost reduction plan. That plan included school closings and staff layoffs.

"We had thought maybe things would be better overtime, but things are not, they are getting worse, so we need to get a full fledged comprehensive plan," said Dr. Phillips.

As it stands now, the Muscogee County School District needs to cut 40 million dollars worth of expenses to balance the budget for fiscal year 2014. Dr. Phillips said his proposed plan is just the beginning of changes that need to happen.

"It's about doing business differently, because the funding continues to go down, down, down, and we just cant afford to operate all of these elementary schools," added Dr. Phillips.

On the chopping block is Edgewood Elementary School, as well as Marshall Middle School. Another cost saving strategy is to increase class sizes and decrease the number of teachers.

School board member Cathy Williams said these harsh realities have been a long time coming.

"There is absolutely no doubt about it that we are going to have to make some very difficult decisions, there's just no question about that. And there is going to be pain felt throughout the district, and I'm sorry for that," added Williams.

Williams said the most important thing to her is to make an informed decision; an opinion that was greeted by applause from parents in the audience.

No vote or final decision was taken Monday, the meeting was purely informational. However the board did agree to move forward and schedule public forums, to allow parents the chance to have their voices heard. No word yet on when those will be.

The budget for the 2013-2014 school year is due in June. Dr. Phillips told the board that if his plan is not approved, the likely replacement will be teacher furloughs.

Liz Buckthorpe

Liz joins the WRBL news team from all the way from New England. More>>

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