Public school districts are finding out just how bad state budget cuts are going to be.
Because of declining revenues, Gov. Haley Barbour ordered a five percent across the board decrease for K-12 education last week.
The reduction amounts to $1.3 million for Meridian Public Schools; $1.4 million for Lauderdale County School District and $666,000 for the Neshoba County School District. Every single district in the state will see significant funding decreases.
Meridian superintendent Charlie Kent said he has felt since sometime last year that these cuts would come. But now looking at these numbers, he says the reality has set in that changes will have to come for the district.
While nothing has been decided yet, Kent says the district could see the cuts come in the form of a possible hiring freeze or a cut to overtime pay, and larger class sizes.
Kent says he doesn't want to do those things, but this is what districts across the state are facing.
"Eighty-five percent of the budget is salary and fringe benefits," said Kent. "And if we could not add to that, I think that we could be O.K."
Kent says he is currently crunching numbers and will make some determinations in coming days.