Columbia County school officials Tuesday gave administrators more lenient punishment options for students who accidentally take contraband to school.
In situations where students discover forgotten medications or some weapons, such as pocket knives, on them or with their property, and immediately turn it over to the office, disciplinary action other than long-term suspension or expulsion may be imposed. Incidents involving firearms are exceptions to this leniency.
Before the school board meeting, the officials continued to discuss a proposed budget for the next school year.
State lawmakers cut $3.5 million in funding for the school system, officials said Tuesday.
The expected state portion of the system's proposed $172.9 million budget is about $102 million, which Superintendent Charles Nagle said is just the amount needed to balance the budget.
That figure assumes Gov. Sonny Perdue approves using federal stimulus funds. If not, the schools might lose an additional $5.7 million.
School officials already have cut about 100 teaching, clerical and support staff positions to compensate for the loss of state revenues. The board added $160,000 into the budget for supplements for National Board certified teachers.
As incentive for teachers to seek certification, lawmakers had agreed to pay each a $5,700 annual supplement. In the wake of the current budget, legislators cut that supplement to about $3,400.
School board member Wayne Bridges said state officials cut the funds expecting that local school systems would cover the cut. He said board certified teachers deserve to receive what was promised them.
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