Board to meet for budget cuts

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- The Newton County Board of Education will meet with school system officials Friday for a daylong planning meeting to discuss budget reductions of up to $9 million for next school year.

Newton County School System Superintendent Gary Mathews has said the system could see up to a $6.5 million reduction from local revenues, $2 to 3 million from state revenues and $1.9 million or more from the federal government, which will no longer provide stimulus funds to schools as it did this past school year.

NCSS is considering a list of $13 million in cuts to find at least $9 million to cut from next school year's budget. So far, the school board already has approved a change to the system's transportation system that will eliminate nearly 100 positions in the department to save about $1.5 million. It plans to vote in March on whether to change high school scheduling that would save more than $2.8 million and cut 47 teacher positions.

At the special called planning meeting, which is set to begin at 9 a.m. Friday in the board room in the Newton County BOE building at 2109 Newton Drive in Covington, the board is expected to hear from NCSS personnel and discuss items related to the budget.

Business Manager Peggy Bullard is expected to examine a multi-year projection of NCSS budgets, based on the system not receiving or losing any other funds; Public Relations Director Sherri Davis-Viniard will examine the results from the stakeholder survey on the possible major budget reductions that showed that most agreed with many of the proposals; Mathews will give administrative recommendations related to the reductions and determine the BOE's next steps toward the reductions; and Human Resources Director Nyree Sanders will review the system's Reduction In Force policy and procedures, according to the agenda.

In addition, BOE members will be charged to answer such questions as what reductions the BOE will support and if any clarification is needed for the system's RIF policy and procedures. The BOE also expects to have an item-by-item discussion of the proposed reductions and tell the administration which reductions they would approve and possibly vote on as early as March.

The board is expected to approve a tentative budget by May and a final budget in June; school systems in Georgia have until May 15 to extend contracts to teachers.