Pelham school system could lose 21% of workforce - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pelham school system could lose 21% of workforce

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

PELHAM, GA (WALB) - The Pelham city school system may lose 20% of its workforce.

The school board had to cut $2 million from the budget.

The only way to do that is to get rid of workers, including many teachers. The tentative budget eliminates 50 positions, something many parents are devastated to hear.

Superintendent Dr. Paul Fanning of Pelham City Schools describes the May 7th Board of Education meeting in one word. Emotional. Tough decisions were made when creating the 2010 tentative budget.

"We found out that we were going to have to reduce expenditures by 2 million dollars," says Dr. Fanning.

The board decided that cutting 2 million dollars from the budget, meant eliminating 50 positions. That's 21% of the workforce in Pelham city schools.

A big blow  to such a small town and small school system of only 1500 students.

"It can have such a ripple effect, I'm so sorry to here about that. I know a lot of teachers," says Theressia Hussey, a concerned resident.

Fay Boceman and her sister Theressia Hussey live just across the street from Pelham city middle school.

"I feel very sad, we need teachers and educators," says Boceman.

Ms. Boceman has a grandson who's about to graduate this month. She says she's proud of him and his school, and hates to see teachers let go.

"My grandson came a long way in school, and I know it's because of the teacher's he had," says Boceman.

But Dr. Fanning has hope. He says they feel confident some of the eliminated positions can be restored by the time the final budget is reached.

"We're working on stimulus grants, and awaiting stabalization money," he says.

But even with restored positions everyone will feel the pinch - from the superintendent's office, to custodians, to students who will have to adjust to larger class sizes.

The superintendent says nearly all para-professional positions were eliminated including those in special education.

He says if the special needs program voices a need for more help in the classrooms, he'll bring that to the board next year.

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