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County schools say 2010 budget will be cut

Tuesday, the county board of education held its first hearing on what school officials are calling a “tentative” $16.3 million budget for the 2010 fiscal year.

Interim superintendent Terry Holley said once the budget is officially adopted later this month, he anticipates further adjustments as proration increases.

It was a statement further affirmed by the system’s chief financial officer Shauna Robertson.

“Right now, we know we’re looking at 6 percent proration,” Robertson said. “That’s what this budget is based on, but we know after Oct. 1, we’re going to have to go into our reserves to operate.”

In Alabama, funding for the education budget is based on sales and income tax revenues, which have decreased considerably than in years past in direct relation to the poor economy. As a result, Gov. Bob Riley announced proration, or cuts in funding, in the 2009 fiscal year budget, and it is more than likely the 2010 education budget will also be prorated.

Cuts include no money for student materials, technology, library enhancement, professional development or common purchases. The textbook budget is expected to be cut by 30 percent from $177,049 in 2009 to $53,273 for 2010.

“We’re working really hard to maintain our current staff level and provide the best possible education for our students,” she said. “And we’re going to do it. We’re going to make it work.”

Under the proposed 2010 budget, the system is set to receive more than $18 million in state revenues and $6.4 million in federal revenues. That figure is only slightly lower than projected local revenues, which are estimated at more than $6.5 million.

As for expenditures, more than $17 million is being allotted for “instructional services” and another $4.2 million for “instructional support services,” while another $2.2 million is set aside for operations and maintenance. More than $3.8 million is budgeted for general administrative services.

The next budget hearing is set for Sept. 10 at noon.

In other business, the board:

Accepted the resignation of Kim Hassell Jones as library/media aide at Pleasant Home School and hired Deborah C. McKathan for the position.

Accepted the retirement of Linda S. Morris as lunchroom worker at Red Level School after 31 years of service.

Granted medical leave to Straughn High School bus driver Voncille Holland.

The regular meeting is Tues., Oct. 6, at 4:30 p.m., board members said.