Budget cuts are forcing yet another area school district to turn to drastic measures to save money.
Taylor County Schools superintendent Oscar Howard says the Florida Department of Education has alerted the district that is has to make cutbacks for the 2008-09 school year-- cutbacks to respond to a $2.8 million deficit.
Howard says 18 teachers will be laid off by next school year and a total of 55 positions will be reduced including non-instructional and administrative.
Margaret Counce, a Taylor County Grandmother, said, "If they do budget cuts, if they have to do any, they should find it somewhere else. The children need adequate amount of teachers to teach them like they need to be taught."
Some of the positions that will remain will have shortened hours; and the schools are trying to save by reducing energy costs.
Howard said, "We're trying to do everything possible. We're rerouting our bus routes. We're eliminating six bus routes for this coming year. Hopefully we will see a couple hundred thousand dollars savings in that."
Starting next year, all ticket prices for athletic games for middle and high schools will go up a dollar--from $5 to $6. Howard says away games will also be limited. "We've asked that we don't travel over 75 miles to games except if it's a district game or if we're a state playoffs."
Track and Weightlifting will be put on hold for next year.
Superintendent Howard says the layoffs are very difficult, but this is all something that has to be done to balance the budget. He does assure that education will not be jeopardized and that the layoffs will come within the boundaries of the state's class-size reduction amendment.
Howard says the $2.8 million is a deficit from prior years plus a reduction of state funding.
An executive committee has been formed to formulate a plan. The committee will carry the budget reduction recommendations to the school board next Tuesday night.