School Budget Cuts

School Board officials in Thomas County say now they face more than $1 million in budget cuts for the upcoming fiscal year. They are looking to the communities the students live in to help make up some of the funds.

The verdict is in from the Georgia General Assembly. Thomas County and Thomas County School Board officials say the news isn't good.

School Board officials say this budget reduction caused them to make cuts in everything from textbooks to teachers' pay, but they say as significant as these cuts are, they were unable to avoid a property tax increase for the fiscal year 2005.

Administrators say the increase would be a big one, more than 17 percent higher than last year's millage rate.

Joey Holland, the financial director for Thomas County Schools, says, "We've never had this type of increase. We've put a lot of work into trying not to do it, but unfortunately it's something we've had to do."

Many parents say they're not happy with such an increase, but they have to put their children first.

Parent Tim Louderback says, "With the increase of salaries and enrollment, this is definitely something we need to look into and support our School Board during this tough decision."

School Board officials say they hope putting money into their cause now will put them back on top next year.

Three more hearings on the subject will be held at the School Board's administrative offices on Highway 319: two on Tuesday, July 6 at 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., and the final hearing is on Tuesday, July 13 at 6 p.m.