Educators react to news of proration

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Summer vacation has its perks for kids, but not the people responsible for their education.

"It won't wipe us out, but it's going to deplete us," explained Mike Looney, Superintendent of Butler County Schools.

Governor Bob Riley's added cuts and empty Rainy Day Fund mean superintendents have their work cut out for them.

"We're going to conserve as much money as we can out of the current budget year.  But the reality of it is we're going to have to take some money out of our reserve account," Looney said.

Other school systems aren't so lucky. Montgomery Public Schools have had to cut more than $18 million.

That's the amount of money in their reserve fund.  Now, the trimming begins.

"[We'll look at] vacancies.  Vacancies that come about due to retirements or resignations.  You trim where you can.  You reduce spending where you can," explained interim superintendent Clay Slagle.

Advocates for higher education also spent their Friday afternoon dealing with the news of fresh cuts. That 2% translates to a much larger blow that takes hold immediately.

"It has to be taken out of the August and September funding, which means--for operating purposes-- our institutions will receive 83% of what they planned to receive," said Gordon Stone, Executive Director of the Higher Education Partnership.

With a bleak economic future on the horizon, educators stress something needs to be done to stop the financial bleeding.

"We're not in the business to live paycheck to paycheck," Looney said.

"We cannot afford to let quality slip," Stone said.

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