The Muscogee School Board held a work session tonight to put the finishing touches on the 2014 fiscal year budget. The topic on everyone's mind was how many teachers would be facing lay-offs.
The proposed job cuts include 20 teacher layoffs. The current breakdown is 6 elementary teachers, 5 middle school teachers and 9 high school teachers. The number is lower than the 40 they initially planned and they will continue to work to cut down that number and find other ways to cut the budget before the final vote next week.
The school board has already closed two schools, Marshall Middle School and Edgewood Elementary, for budget reasons. Chairman Rob Varner says laying people off is always tougher than closing schools.
"In one sense you're dealing with buildings, now we're dealing with people," says Varner. "That's going to be the next bit of trauma that we're going to have to go through as far as getting that final piece of the puzzle taken care of so we can enter 2014 with a balanced budget."
The board also discussed interim superintendent John Phillips' contract. It expires in June 30th and the board has proposed to renew the contract for another year, but that contract will expire when a new superintendent is hired.
The issue of official school trips and school board trips was also raised by Board Chairman Cathy Williams. She raised her concern with the Muscogee School Board conference trip, saying "vacation should not be funded with taxpayer dollars, especially with teachers getting laid off."
A final vote on all items will be next Monday, June 17th at the 6 p.m. board meeting.
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