Last month 44 Lauderdale County teachers were given pink slips stating that their contracts would not be renewed. Over the next few days they will get another slip, but this time offering them their jobs back. This is all the result of legislators’ passage Sunday night of next school year's education budget.
"It could've been a lot worse," says Lauderdale County Public School Superintendent David Little. "I think with the level we'll be getting we won’t be backing up but we won't to be going forward like we had hoped to."
The newly passed education budget provides 95 percent of the requested funding for kindergarten through 12th grade education. This is $47 million short of what educators had hoped to receive.
While this provides enough cash for pay raises for teachers who work in Lauderdale County schools, Superintendent Little says it provides very little and in many cases nothing for campus improvements such as new bleachers.
Meanwhile, compared to the original proposal, which would have left K-12 education with a $161 million shortfall, Little says things could have been much worse.
"If we had funded at the level that the joint legislative budget committee had recommended and what the governor recommended it would've been a train wreck for us."
While the shortfall is leaving most school districts with a budget of or at least somewhat close to what they had this year, educators say it's likely smaller school districts which can afford to lose the least that will likely be affected the most.
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