Possible Layoffs At Butler County Schools

Butler County School Superintendent Mike Looney talks about possible layoffs.
Butler County School Superintendent Mike Looney talks about possible layoffs.

BUTLER COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - Some gut-wrenching moves at the Butler County School Board.

"I don't see how we can buy more textbooks whatsoever," superintendent Mike Looney told his staff as they poured over the budget.

Chained by a deep recession, Looney knew proration was coming but had no idea just how severe until Governor Bob Riley uttered these words.

"Therefore, we will implement proration," Mr. Riley said in a news conference Monday.

"We were thinking 3 or 4% but 9% for a school district like ours.. that's a tremendous amount of money," said Looney.

A huge amount of money when you consider 9% translates into $1.8 million Looney and his staff have to slice away.

"The reality is we're not going to be able to do it," said Looney.

That means the school district will tap into its reserve fund which has two-and-a-half-million dollars in it. Still:

"I suspect in Butler County we're going to have layoffs. We're talking about school bus drivers, janitors and aides, not tenured teachers," said Looney.

Mike Looney says he will voluntarily turn in his county car, a Ford Taurus which will save the district $500.00 a month in gasoline costs. And high school librarian Jennifer Shell says she will continue to pay for school supplies out of her own pocket. Before, she averaged $250 a year, but in the face of proration, Shell plans to spend more.

"If we really need it I will get it," said Shell who's taught school for more than 30 years.

From the state capitol to school districts like Butler County, the new lean times have arrived with the stroke of a pen. So far Looney and company have been able to cut $500,000.00 from the budget.

Superintendent Looney says he'll make his recommendations to the Butler County School Board on January 15th.