School board budget issues linger

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The Savannah-Chatham School Board decided to push back budget talks. Board members say they just need more time.

Superintendent Dr. Thomas Lockamy said this is the worst year yet.

Part of the budget includes increasing class size, which fewer teachers. More than 100 teachers received pink slips in May.

The proposed budget would include a pay step for hourly employees; no work modification days; eliminating three guidance counselor positions, eliminating vacant positions, no elimination of middle school sports; no reduction to local teacher supplement so they would see their normal pay raise; and .5 mill increase, which wouldn't be a tax increase because of the tax digest decrease.

The budget would also include Woodville Tompkins opening as a high school with a principal, which would still support early college as a program.

Larry Jackson, the budget director, says this is the third year in a row where the district has faced these cuts. He said it doesn't get any easier.

Jackson said that at their last budget workshop they presented a budget with modification days, some proposed local supplements. He said that then they received tax digest and it did go down.

"We expected it would be but we are proposing to increase the millage rate .5 mills to make up for lost revenue we are no longer getting," he said.

Jackson said it will certainly be a waiting game for many of those teachers.

The school board can't approve a budget until they hold a public hearing. The hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 7 at the Eli Whitney complex.

A special board meeting will be at the end of the month to have a final adoption of the budget.

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