Elmore County Schools fight bleak financial future

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

WETUMPKA, AL (WSFA) - It's a situation stretching across the state.  Educators in small and large systems are battling proration and financial bleeding.

Administrators in Montgomery are already projecting major cutbacks, including the potential elimination of 168 teacher positions.

"We have some important decisions to make about schools and children," said MPS Superintendent Barbara Thompson.

Things aren't any better in places like Elmore County, where the scale may be smaller, but the news is just as bad.

"A worst case scenario for us is that we would lose up to 58 teacher units," said Elmore County Superintendent Jeff Langham.

Langham and his staff are working against the clock.  Low revenue and funding means spending $250,000 per month out of the system's reserves.

"We can't get our head above water because the ravages of proration keep knocking us back down," Langham said.

The school system simply can't keep losing money.  Langham estimates the reserves will be empty by September.

"[...] and we will have no choice but to seek out local lenders who will help our school system," he said.

What's being done to shore up funds?

The system is trimming where it can, cutting things like travel and professional development.

"But those are just really throwing small pebbles into the water compared to the significance of the money that we need," Langham said.

Tough news for educators--and kids. Many parents say they're frustrated.

"That's not fair. Our children should come first because our children are our future. And if we don't take care of them now, who's to say what's going to happen," said Tabitha Stokes.

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