Richmond County school board members approved the budget with minimal job cuts but added an extra furlough day for teachers.
Students at Richmond County schools won't have larger class sizes this fall – but teachers will take home a smaller paycheck. It's all part of the school board's finalized budget. More than 100 positions were on the chopping block but school board members saved those cuts by adding an extra furlough day for teachers.
“Going from 8 furlough days to 9 days, if we went with 8 the teachers would be gone and it would increase the classroom size,” said board member, Alex Howard.
Richmond County School Board members say 90% of their budget is personnel. They operate on $240 million in a school year. This year the state cut $23 million dollars from their budget and they predict next year the cuts could be even worse.
A handful of admin and custodial positions could still be cut but school leaders say an extra furlough day for teachers is the best option to save jobs, and should not impact student test scores.
“Our test scores went up so that is really a good thing,” said Howard.
“Right now we should be in pretty good shape because we didn't have to increase class sizes – they should stay where they are,” said board president, Venus Cain.
“If you are trying to save jobs, I think we did the best we could,” said Howard.
Just last month, each school principal had to cut 7% of their school budget – things like trimming utility costs, sharing assistant principals and reducing substitute teachers.
There are 50 schools in the Richmond County school system, and on average each school cut about half a million dollars already from next year's budget to make up for the shortfall.
Teachers had to take 9 furlough days this school year as well.