Troup County School Board slashes $1.3 million from budget

amccallum@ledger- enquirer.comSeptember 18, 2009 

LAGRANGE, Ga. — Education officials in Troup County reduced their budget by $1.3 million Thursday, joining other Georgia school systems that were forced to make reductions in the wake of cuts called for by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

In July, Perdue recommended three-day unpaid furloughs for all state employees as well as a 3 percent cut to QBE funding. While teachers are state employees, Perdue could not order them to take furloughs since their contracts are with individual school districts.

Troup County, like most Georgia school systems, did approve the furlough days to cut costs. Still, more tough choices were made Thursday when the board approved a budget amendment at its meeting to bring its books in line with state cuts.

“We have the unpleasant, but necessary task of making that reduction,” Superintendent Ed Smith said.

With a budget of $105 million, the district reduced expenditures across the board to respond to Perdue’s 3 percent cut to QBE funding. The reductions, which Smith said had been discussed thoroughly by school administrators, were first presented to the board during Monday’s caucus meeting.

Spending on professional development, travel and computer equipment were all reduced. There were also significant cuts to instructional and operational supplies budgets that amounted to about $230,000.

The district made changes to its transportation spending, such as streamlining some of its bus routes, to save $200,000. The board also opted to delay textbook adoptions and the start of a career academy to save $345,000. Money from the division’s $12 million reserve — about $111,000 — was also used balance the budget.

The board approved a policy change to increase the number of absences students may have and still be eligible for exam exemption. The policy, which is only in effect this year because of emergency cold and flu conditions, was also initially presented Monday.

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