School Districts Brace for More Potential Cuts

When lawmakers return to Jackson to pass a budget, one of the big items on the agenda will be education.

Already this fiscal year, the budget for education has been slashed by about eight percent. The question now is, will there be even more cuts?

"We've been anticipating cuts," said Dr. Terry Larabee, interim superintendent of Meridian Public Schools. "We've been anticipating a cut that's going to affect us by $4.5 million this year."

To offset more possible cuts, Larabee says the district is further implementing cost-cutting initiatives, such as trying to save on electric bills, not filling positions of faculty members who retire and preparing for personnel cuts.

Larabee said it's too early to determine how many personnel could be affected at MPSD. However, he said some of those individuals could start being notified as early the next few weeks.

For the current fiscal year, the Lauderdale County School District has been cut by about $3 million. With lawmakers saying they will not be able to fully fund education next year, superintendent Randy Hodges says the district could lose another $3 million in state funds.

To curb expenses, Hodges says the district plans to avoid job cuts by utilizing furloughs.

"Which that just means that we would possibly reduce employees work days by two. These would not be instructional days. They would be staff development days," Hodges said.

According to state Sen. Videt Carmichael, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, there could be some good news for schools. He said if the economy does not get any worse, school districts' budgets will likely remain the same as they are now.

"We're trying to make it where there won't be any cuts," said Carmichael. "They'll know the dollar amount going in. Hopefully that dollar amount will maintain throughout the fiscal year and we won't have to make more cuts."

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  • by Supporter of education Location: Meridian on Apr 26, 2010 at 05:42 PM
    What cuts are going to be made in the school districts-city and county? Teachers should not be the ones to lose their jobs. Mississippi has a teacher shortage.
  • by Researcher Location: Meridian on Apr 20, 2010 at 03:43 PM
    In an earlier post, someone said MS teachers are the lowest paid in the union. That's not exactly correct--check out this 2007 (most recent document I could find) survey. If you click on MS, it states that MS is ranked 47th...near the bottom but not THE bottom.
  • by employee Location: scooba on Apr 20, 2010 at 08:42 AM
    To the Teacher in Scooba. I dont think the board can cut a teachers pay. That committee has no common sense. They also suggested that all buses be brought back to campus after the route has been run, that would mean more gas being used because most drivers live at the end of the route. They are not looking at the big picture only what they think is best for them. In the long run they might just loose everything. They need to stop being so selfish and think about everyone. They also made a comment about east side children being smarter than west side. They need to look at the latest scores and that will tell the otherwise.
  • by To Taxpayer Location: MS on Apr 19, 2010 at 11:43 AM
    I AGREE with you 100%. I wish we could do everything you suggested.
  • by just a question Location: Laderdale County on Apr 19, 2010 at 08:41 AM
    Does anyone know when the lawmakers will return to Jackson? I just wondered when we would hear of these cuts that will be made.
  • by Taxpayer Location: Meridian on Apr 18, 2010 at 08:04 AM
    We need more educators not less. If you need to make cuts here are some suggestions to save money. Cut top administrators and office staff by having some take on another assignment. These do not directly touch the lives of our children. We need all of our classroom teachers and more. Cuts can be made by not providing vehicles, cell phones, expensive trips for administration, motivational speakers, trips for teacher workshops and student field trips. Bus pick up could be reduced again and let parents take their children to school. Late start date will cut down on air conditioning. All can turn units off when not in use. Reduce number of school days. Four day school week. Furloughs. Students who disrupt classes can help janatorial staff clean cafeteria, restrooms and yard. Cafeteria's can make cuts and probably provide better meal choices. Money assigned to sports can be reduced. Students need to pay fees for some of their materials for all classes.
  • by Fully fund MAEP Location: Meridian on Apr 18, 2010 at 07:01 AM
    School districts do not need to lose any teaching positions due to cutting funds. Our children are already in overcrowded classrooms. Discipline problems grow even more when you cut teachers and try putting more students in these classes. If you expect educators to try to teach and raise test scores more funding is needed not less. Mississippi ranks at the bottom compared to other states. PLEASE MS legislators fully fund MAEP. Our children need all academic and extra curricular programing to become well rounded students that will be able to compete in higher education and as citizens. As voters that put you in office we expect you to make wise choices when it comes to our children. They are the future leaders of Mississippi and we need them to be adequately educated.
  • by Save jobs by being cost conscious! Location: Mississippi on Apr 16, 2010 at 05:17 PM
    Miss. is too far behind other states. Legislators can do the following to save money without cutting any of our teachers or programs. *Cut number of contract days. *Four day school week and lengthen days to get in the number of required hours. *Have a later start date to save on cooling schools. *Schools can conserve more energy on both cooling and heating by having everyone to turn off lights when not in use. Turn lights off after sporting events,these are left on for hours after the game. This would save a ton of money. *Reduce the number of administrators and unnecessary office staff. *Reduce the ammount of money in the sports department. *Cut down on unnecessary trips by administrators, teachers and students. *Better choices in spending in the cafeteria department. *Incorporate environmental awareness by having students clean and assist janitorial and cafeteria staff in cleaning. Consider Japanese use of this concept. Students with behavior problems help with yard work.
  • by Legislators NEED to fully fund education Location: Meridian on Apr 16, 2010 at 04:39 PM
    Its not a good idea to cut any classes for students. Classrooms are overcrowded as it is and if you cut out any extra curricular classes student behavior problems will increase even more. Therefore creating more problems for school districts and society. Resulting in more cost to tax payers! Legislators need to spend more than a few days in schools so they fully understand exactly what all of our teachers do each day. Please fully fund education, our students need every opportunity to become well rounded students so they can compete in a global society. Mississippi's schools has just begun to offer many of the extra classes and programs that is helping to improve their education. We do not need to reduce or lose these programs as it takes too long to re-establish them and we lose ground on educating students. We do not need to go backwards. It is time for Mississippi to move forward in educating every child.
  • by anticutting on Apr 16, 2010 at 12:22 PM
    DON'T CUT THE CHILDREN. Education is the key to our states economic future. An educated work-force attracts industry. I am sure there is plenty of government waste that can be trimmed without cutting education funding. It costs more to incarcerate than to educate. When we fail to educate, crimes goes and the cost to society increases exponentially. I would rather pay a dime more in taxes to fund education than I would to fund MDOC. This is ludicrous people. Children don't vote and those who don't want their taxes increased to fund educating our children probably have grown children or their children are in private schools which they are struggling to afford. DON'T CUT THE KIDS. Reduced funding for education at any level, in my opinion, is a form of child abuse. How can you be pro-life and not want to do everything possible to see that that child has a productive life and be a productive citizen.
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