By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Schools chief feels 'cautious optimism'
Placeholder Image

      SYLVANIA - While state legislators and Gov. Nathan Deal said additional cuts are coming for education in the next fiscal year, Screven County Superintendent Dr. Whit Myers expects to enter a new period of "cautious optimism" in budget planning.
      Although all of the current state cuts remain in place for education and the Screven County Board of Education expects an additional loss in revenues of about $1.5 million for next year, the school system should be in a position to absorb those cuts, Myers said in an email to all system employees last week.
       As early as last August, Myers said the school system began deliberately setting aside money to offset some of the cuts for next year.
      "That ‘extra' money included the balance of some stimulus money coming to us through the state, President Obama's ‘Jobs Bill' money, and some Title I money we don't expect to spend this year but plan to carry over to next year," said Myers.
      Since all federal school funding comes on a reimbursement basis around this time of year, Myers said reimbursements have now created a "very clear picture of what [the school system] is taking in and spending each month."
      So, Screven's fund balance, when compared with their current level of expenditures, is very strong, he said.
Moving into the next fiscal year on July 1, that strong balance will then roll over into next year's budget, Myers said.
      "We will continue to take advantage of normal attrition where possible," he said, "however, I am now very confident that there should be no need for any kind of reduction in force."
      The board is thus expected to renew all teacher contracts in March, as is their custom, Myers said, though the issuance of contracts will still be delayed until the Legislature sheds more light on the number of school days and class sizes expected.
      Also, the number of furlough days for next year is expected to be reduced, said Myers, however, a final decision regarding the exact number cannot be made until May.
      For the current school year, the Screven school system received state permission to lengthen the school day at the elementary, middle and high schools so the total number of days in school could be reduced from 180 days to 170. The system was able to save $800,000 by opening schools for 10 fewer days and furloughing teachers and staff for those 10 days.
      "We must proceed with great caution," he said in the email, hesitant to take action this spring that will make things more difficult next spring.


Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter