NCSS should expect more budget cuts

COVINGTON -- Newton County teachers and other school staff members could experience more cuts next school year.

Newton County School System Superintendent Steven Whatley spoke to employees Wednesday to notify them of possible cuts in personnel, benefits, programs and services and changes to class sizes for the 2010-11 school year.

"It is not to alarm you, but to give you information to be forewarned," he told employees.

He said NCSS might not receive between $4.5 million and $5.5 million from Newton County as a result of a decreasing tax digest of 10 to 12 percent. The system also could experience a funding loss as high as a 20 percent reduction in Quality Basic Education funding, which is built on formulas from the state and could result in more than $17 million in losses.

"We do not know what the final numbers will be or when those will be available," Whatley said about state cuts. "Those decisions are in the hands of the Legislature and Gov. (Sonny Perdue)."

These reductions, as well as other decreases in ad valorem tax collection, sales tax collections and other state funding, have caused NCSS officials to review "all expenses," including personnel, benefits, class sizes, programs and services, Whatley said.

"Meanwhile, our system operations must move forward in the process of determining through budget planning what will be required and what will be eliminated, thus affecting the issuing of contracts," he said. "Times like these really push us all to our limits."

He said NCSS officials will inform employees of new information and decisions "in a timely manner" as they receive it.

"We appreciate your patience and understanding through this crisis and your continuing efforts in giving our students your best," he told employees.