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Huntsville City Schools looking at budget cuts to deal with deficit

The district is still working to get hard numbers for how large the deficit is.

Posted: Aug. 23, 2018 11:35 PM
Updated: Aug. 24, 2018 7:13 AM

One specific transaction caused the budget shortfall for Huntsville City sShools according to the Chief Financial Officer of the district It was the ad valorem, or property taxes, coming into the district that were entered on the ledger for the wrong month.

According to Superintendent Christie Finley the district is looking at ten percent cuts throughout departments across the district. Those would cover $6million of the deficit.

Previously we've been told the district will face a $16 million deficit by the end of next September, but now the superintendent said they're still looking at the numbers to make sure that number is accurate.

4th grade teacher Donna Marotti got scared when she heard about the budget deficit.

"We were concerned that they were going to hit the teachers first," said Marotti.

Marotti and some fellow teachers told WAAY 31 they have some concerns about how the district decided to spend money recently.

"I do think the funds were somewhat mismanaged, because you're essentially spending a million dollars on a curriculum when that's our training. That's what we're here to do," said Marotti.

Superintendent Finley said the finance staffers in town from the State Department of Education briefly looked over the books on Wednesday and together they have initial ideas about how to tackle the problem.

"In terms of spending at the district level we are looking at every department if there's some things, ten percent of their budget, they can cut out that will help us with the short fall that was discussed in the work session that's what we're doing, so we'll have little impact on the classroom," said Finley.

Finley told WAAY 31 she will try to preserve the teacher pay raises the board of education agreed upon a few months ago.

"She should guarantee it, because it was promised to us and I was told today that buying materials for my classroom shows integrity and I believe the district should show us some integrity by doing what they promised," said Marotti.

Marotti said the person, or people, responsible for the deficit should be the ones held accountable.

"If someones mismanaged the funds, or they're not doing it correctly I think they would be the people that would be first to be cut other than our office staff and our aids and us," said Marotti.

Superintendent Finley said they should have a firm number for exactly how big the deficit the district is facing during the September 4th budget meeting, which is when decisions on specific cuts could happen.

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