Proration slashes millions from school budgets

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It doesn't matter where you live, proration affects every public school system in the state.

"I'm glad it's only 3%," says Deena Weston.

Weston has three children in Montgomery Public Schools, and thought Governor Bentley would cut the budget even deeper. But at this point, she says anything hurts.

"Now they've gotta look at teacher cuts and staff cuts and central office cuts," adds Weston.

Montgomery Public School Superintendent Barbara Thompson was surprised.  She didn't think this year's budget would be cut.

She says the school board's decision to close 8 schools only took care of some of the multi-million dollar deficit the system faces next year.  With proration she admits:

"We must now take more drastic measures. We are now being forced to cut beyond the bone."

So what does 3% proration mean?  For Montgomery Public Schools, it slices $4.5 million.  In Elmore County, $2.5 million dollars. For Autauga County schools, $1.5 million dollars.

"It's hard to cut when you're just given what you have and you're using all that you have, or all that you're given. So we just continue to make the best decisions we can for everyone," says Autauga County Superintendent, Greg Faulkner.

But Weston thinks the decision making at the state level should change.

"I wish that we could find a better way to fund education so that we're not at the mercy of proration."

Many school administrators say the 3% proration wipes out any reserves they had.  Everyone says the last thing they want to do is cut teachers.  But, superintendents admit it's likely--especially in Montgomery.

Superintendent Barbara Thompson says state funding for local schools has been cut roughly $37-million dollars during the two years she's been on the job.

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