How are school districts absorbing budget cuts? - - Jackson, MS

How are school districts absorbing budget cuts?

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By Cheryl Lasseter - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Next year could be one of the leanest ever inside our schools. Districts anticipate an additional 15 percent shaved off of their budgets.

For Clinton schools, it adds up to another $4.1 million gone. The district said it won't buy any new buses, and textbook purchases will be put off. But, personnel makes up 73 percent of the budget.

Because of that, the district will work with 43 fewer employees next year. Librarians, counselors, and teachers will go.

In Rankin County, every one percent cut equals $750,000. The district has cut travel, staff training, and office expenditures. Personnel eats up 83 percent of the budget.  The district hopes to avoid layoffs through attrition and non-replacement of employees.

"I'm sure we're all feeling the impact across the state," said Northwest Rankin High School Assistant Principal Heather Burch.  She said classrooms will see a small increase in student size as staff numbers shrink.

The district is also cutting travel and other expenditures.   They're also turning off lights and computers every night.

"In fact, next week will be spring break. We're not only shutting down, we have to unplug. Printers, everything," Burch said.  "We have made a huge impact at Northwest Rankin. I think we've saved the district $40,000 just in energy management alone."

In Madison County, a 15-percent cut to schools equals $8 million.  They're shaving cell phone usage, travel, and the district's contribution to extracurricular activities. Millions more will be saved through possible five-day furloughs and non-replacement of staff.  Madison Schools are also trying to avoid layoffs.  

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