$34 million slashed from MPS budget includes teacher cuts

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's no surprise, school systems across the state are strapped for cash. Montgomery is no different.

Federal stimulus funds and grants are the only things that will help the school system if the governor declares proration in 2011.

"That along with some capital purchase funds will allow us to have hopefully about $4.8 million dollars at the end of next year," says Montgomery Public Schools' Assistant Superintendent for Finance, Ron Glover.

Right now, the 2011 budget sits at more than $280 million dollars. That's about $34 million dollars less than this year.  Glover explains why.

"Much of that is capital because we've completed our capital projects.  But yes, it's definitely down in terms of personnel and programs."

Projects like Carver High School's new building and Dalraida Elementary renovations are now complete and no longer factored into the budget along with more than 100 employee positions.

But that doesn't mean there's extra money lying around.  School board members say the budget is as lean as it can get.

"30 million dollars...that's a lot to cut. And these are our children that we're teaching. I don't know how else we can cut," says MPS School Board Member, Melissa Snowden.

"There's really nothing to save other than we have to continue to be fiscally sound," says MPS President, Beverly Ross.

Thanks to federal stimulus funds, the system will get money to hire some teachers back and possibly allow for some to go into reserves.

But if the governor declares more than a 3% proration, Glover says,  "I'm not sure what we'll do."

The $4.8 million dollars that the school system is hoping to end up with will cover proration up to 3%. That's because each 1% of proration cuts $1.5 million dollars from the school system.

Officials say if they run out of money, they might have to make more cuts or even borrow some on a line of credit.

The board has another budget hearing next week.  They have to pass a budget by October 1st.

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