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SP Budget Cuts

No ‘grandstanding’ from SP schools despite budget woes

By Rupert Howell

South Panola schools administrators told their board of trustees that they would wait until they know what additional cuts would be coming before “grandstanding in front of the media” as some school officials have done across the state with current budget cuts.

South Panola School District Superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer told his board of trustees, “I hate we get thrown in the same barrel with the evil 152 (school districts),” adding that sometimes a district needs to be judged on its own.

Schools as well as other state funded agencies are facing serious funding cutbacks  due to the continuing stagnant economy.

“The unknown is the worst thing,” Finance Director Suzanne Covington told trustees. She explained that she is in the process of amending budgets.

She told the trustees that some departments thought that because funds were budgeted they could be spent.

“I will be amending budgets,” she said, “scrutinizing,” she added.

Shaffer explained that the local district’s conservative budgeting and practice of levying funds along the way has left the district in a more desirable situation than others.

“Right now, we are dependent on if they (the state) cuts us some more,” he said. Shaffer also said that he had been impressed with Senator Nolan Mettetal’s interaction about the education funding bill and that he had positive responses from all local legislators.

Trustee Board president Lygunnah Bean expressed the opinion that school principals should be aware of the school financial woes but not worry about them.

Stating that district administrators should carry the worry burden, Bean said, “Principals’ minds need to be on student achievement. We don’t need everybody crying about the budget problem.”