During a budget workshop Tuesday night, Dr. Mendel Stewart said the projected expenditures for the coming year were about $6,592,839 more than expected revenues, and that expenses will have to be cut to make up for the shortfall.
Among Stewart’s proposed cuts are reducing all administrators’ salaries by 5 percent, eliminating school resource officers, reducing the athletic program budget by 25 percent and eliminating positions at the district office and its satellites.
“The decisions to make these cuts are some of the most difficult I’ve ever made,” he said. “If the board approves these recommendations, every school, Central Services and all satellite offices will be affected in some way.”
The interim superintendent is also proposing a reduction at all district-level non-personnel budgets by 25 percent, replacing employees hired under letters of agreement, combining two technology positions, implementing a new reading initiative delivery model, and having a 22:1 staff ration in non-Title I schools.
These cuts, as well as continuing to cut travel expenses by 50 percent and each school’s per-pupil allocations by 25 percent, would bring the budget in line with the amount of revenue expected, Stewart said.
He projected that revenues for next year will be $99,559,094.
These proposed cuts come as the district deals with just over $5.5 million in cuts during the current year’s budget, as well as a possible additional cut of $700,000.
“Although next year will also be challenging, the administration remains committed to providing a quality, student-centered instructional program for Pickens County students,” Stewart said.
He said that while it was still early in the budget process, it was important to prepare with the information currently available and to make recommendations that would result in a balanced budget.
He assured employees in the district that they are valuable and doing a good job.
“Unfortunately, this nation’s economy has created a situation requiring us to make changes,” he said. “I still have faith that together we’ll get through this crisis.”
The school board will have a first-reading vote on the budget April 27. Second reading and a public hearing will take place May 11, and third and final reading of the budget is slated for May 26.