Columbia County school officials will continue Tuesday to discuss a proposed 2009-10 budget containing millions of dollars in cuts.
Because of state budget reductions, the school system will receive about $3.5 million less in operating funds next school year than the current year, Superintendent Charles Nagle told the school board last week during a study session.
Nagle is proposing a $173 million budget. The budget for the current school year is about $176.4 million.
Through a hiring freeze, larger classes and the elimination of some part-time employees, officials were able to save about $5.5 million in payroll expenditures.
In all, 103 positions were cut: 38 teachers, 32 paraprofessionals, four career specialists, eight middle school clerical aids, four instructional technology specialists, four technical supports specialists, and eight middle school graduation coaches.
Most of the eliminated positions are made through attrition, Nagle said.
"Every full-time employee contracted with the school system has received a contract (to come back)," he said.
The budget numbers might change before the second meeting with the board.
Nagle said last week that Gov. Sonny Perdue was to decide Friday whether he will accept millions in federal stimulus money to bolster school budgets.
The budget that Nagle showed board members was based on an assumption that the governor would approve using the stimulus money.
If Perdue rejects the stimulus spending, Nagle said, his staff would need to cut an additional $3 million to $5 million.
The school system needs about $102 million from the state to balance its budget. Nagle would not speculate what school officials might cut if the system's funding needs are not met.
This year, the state provided more than $107 million of the school board's budget, according to county figures.
Tuesday's meeting, held before a regular school board meeting, will be a question-and-answer session for board members. The board is scheduled to approve the budget June 9.
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