Proposed Huntsville City Schools budget calls for millions in cuts

Right now the cuts do not include jobs, but that could change.

Posted: Sep 4, 2018 10:52 PM
Updated: Sep 4, 2018 10:59 PM

The 2019 proposed budget for Huntsville City Schools calls for cutting millions in spending throughout the district.

For the time being those cuts do not impact people's jobs.

The budget was presented to the board of education Tuesday night in the first of two meetings.

Patricia Marr is a sixth grade teacher in the district. She likes the budget including promised teacher raises, but the other issues make her and her fellow teachers in the meeting worry.

"We're unsure about how they're going to do it and where the cuts are going to come from, so we're looking about; everybody's job could be at stake and we just don't know," said Marr.

The budget numbers have firmed up over the past month, but at the end of September the district is still looking to be roughly $5 million short on their state required one month operating balance.

At the end of the 2019 fiscal year projections show the district will still be short $3 million.

Superintendent Christie Finley said millions in cuts to the non personnel spending accounts for the district making up ground on the budget.

The board of education will decide whether to approve the budget and send it to the state for approval.

"Moving forward what we need to do is show a plan of how we're trying to achieve that one month operating expense," said Finley.

The Chief Financial Officer for the district said in the meeting the district has over two hundred staff members in the district not paid for by the state.

Some are teachers, some are assistant principals, and all of the central officer staff are included in that number.

When pressed several times on future cuts, to make up the remaining $3 million deficit at the end of the 2019 fiscal year, Finley shied away from saying people will lose their jobs.

"I think we have to look at everything. We have to look at programs, personnel; we have to make sure what we're doing makes sense and what we're doing makes sense for students," said Finley.

Marr is still worried, but likes the well thought out way the district seems to be handling the situation instead of making snap decisions.

"People's lives are at stake. You know, this is how we take care of our family, so going about it and taking a slow approach would be a good thing," said Marr.

Finley said the district and board of education can make changes to the budget during the year to help address the problem.

The next budget hearing is next thursday after which the board of education will decide to approve it, or vote it down.

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