Five furlough days possible for Muscogee County schools - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Five furlough days possible for Muscogee County schools next year

COLUMBUS, GA -

From budgets to the search for an interim superintendent, discussions at Monday night's Muscogee County School Board meeting could have a big impact on you and your child this fall.

"It's almost unfathomable how deep that they are cutting us.  If you look at the last 11 years in cuts, we have suffered a $119 million in cuts in 11 years," said Muscogee County School Board Chair Cathy Williams.

Williams said cuts like those from the government as well as increases in costs like more than a $6 million increase for health insurance next school year makes balancing a budget for Fiscal Year 2013 a daunting task.

"With those cuts you cannot continue to do that and provide quality public education in every classroom. So, we have to really look at what we have to do in order to provide that quality education in Muscogee County," said Williams.

Monday night, the school board approved a tentative budget of about $280 million for next school year. The district did not have to let any employees go, but the budget does include five furlough days for teachers.

"We wish no one was off extra days but you don't want to cut anyone, and that is the next stage, and you don't want to have to do that at all or other personnel," said school board member Mark Cantrell.

Cantrell was grateful there were not more furlough days even though the District's costs increased.    

Another topic at the meeting was the recommendation of former Superintendent John Phillips as Interim Superintendent when Susan Andrews retires next month.

"I don't think it is necessary to bring somebody in from the outside to serve as interim," said Williams. With budget, Williams and Cantrell spoke up against the proposal saying it would cost too much to bring in an interim.

In two weeks, the school board will vote on the final budget for Fiscal Year 2013 and the recommendation of former Superintendent John Phillips as Interim Superintendent.

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