Decatur County schools face $4 million in budget cuts - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Decatur County schools face $4 million in budget cuts

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DECATUR COUNTY, GA (WALB) -

By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

DECATUR COUNTY, GA (WALB) – Some parents worry major cuts in the Decatur County school system will hurt their children's education.

The Board of Education proposed nearly four million dollars in budget cut including six more furlough days for the 2010-2011 school year.

Decatur County schools may leave more than 30 teaching vacancies unfilled, schedule six furlough days equaling a 3% teacher pay cut, and scale back many extracurricular programs next year.

"It's scary because I want my son to have the same opportunities I had, even more so," says Tameria McNeer.

She worries about her son and god-brother's future education and thinks the state needs to make education a priority.

"I really don't think it's a good idea. I think they should cut something else and not education."

Decatur County Superintendent Ralph Jones says the cuts are a necessary evil.

"There's nothing we cutting that doesn't not affect the students. And that concerns me. The band is important. The growth and leadership you learn from athletics. They are a lot of lessons to be learned outside of math class."

Some people think the new high school has a big role in the Decatur County school budget crisis. But Jones says the multi-million dollar facility has nothing to do with the budget cuts.

"We closed two schools. We're not paying power bills, insurance, operating, maintenance, upkeep on two schools now to go into a new building. But regardless, if our students were still in the oldest buildings with the walls falling down, we, our school system, would still be facing 3.9 million dollars of operating costs."

But parents like McNeer are still concerned about growing class sizes.

"Someone is not going to be listening or learning the way they should be."

"We still think it's manageable," assures Jones. "But of course, great teachers make things happens. And we've got great teachers here. They've been good to understand where we are in this fiscal crisis and they're stepping up to the plate."

And they'll have to continue to do so to keep up with growing demands on a shrinking budget.

The Decatur County Board of Education will vote on the proposed budget cuts at their next meeting.

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