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School board eyes potential cuts

POSTED: April 13, 2010 2:06 p.m.

Effingham County Board of Education members and staff have begun looking at possible ways to trim its thinning budget even more.
The school system faces the further potential loss of $6 million in state funding next fiscal year.

One of the areas being considered is extracurricular supplements and positions at the middle and high schools. Under one of the possibilities, an assistant coach from each team would be cut and supplements for higher qualifications, such as a doctorate degree, would be replaced by a flat fee for coaches. This is projected to save $100,000 without cutting any of the programs.

They also discussed certain teacher planning days in looking toward losing five days from the school calendar and where that would fall during the school year. Superintendent Randy Shearouse stressed that only 2 1/2 student days would be cut from the 177-day calendar being considered. These holes punched in the calendar would save the school system $1,850,000. With this, Shearouse pointed out to board members exactly how much they spend in five school days.

In the expectation of losing 35 teaching positions through regular attrition, the board discussed having to increase class size, a step that they thus far haven’t had to take. Shearouse pointed out that the average class size in Effingham is still low and would not exceed the state limits.    

While the BOE has decided to send pre-kindergarten students back to their district elementary schools for the next couple of years to save money from duplicated staff and running two additional facilities, this step will only reduce FY2011’s budget by an estimated $622,836. The school system has lost approximately $11 million in funding in the last couple of years and expects a hit of an additional $6 million-$7 million loss to a still-growing system.

Other areas of interest included reducing working days for paraprofessionals by five days, reducing custodial staff days from and eliminating graduation coaches.

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