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SP Budget Cuts

Cuts, cuts, cuts: South Panola braces for state’s budget woes

By Rupert Howell

South Panola School District officials, expecting future funding cuts, briefly discussed fallout from those cuts at their monthly meeting Tuesday, October 20.

School administrators have already dealt with an approximate $1 million cut and are expecting cuts for at least the next two years.

Through conservative budgeting and spending practices, the district has added to a capital improvement fund that may have negated a bond issue for additional construction or major repairs.

However, the balance of that fund may have to be used if local trustees decide to maintain ongoing programs offered by the district and forgo planned major construction or repair.

The capital improvement fund increases as the district usually budgets a five percent buffer or cushion into its budget as recommended by the state’s audit department. Some of the unused portions of that fund is moved into the capitol improvements account at the end of the year.

Superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer indicated that the district could get by for this year and next, but after then anticipated budget cuts would significantly cause cutbacks to services and personnel within South Panola.

As the state, nation and local economies continue to face financial woes, schools like other governmental and business entities are no different — needing either more income or providing less output.

School trustees also heard reports from each of the district’s six school principals or their assistants as well as reports from department heads, their attorney and the superintendent.

Shaffer distributed information that showed a higher absentee rate during the first weeks of school compared to previous years confirming that the H1N1 was prevalent and may affect state funding due to lower average daily attendance.

Shaffer also confirmed that the district had severed ties with an employment agency and was again handling substitute teachers which should save the district money over last year.