SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -Savannah-Chatham County Public School board members got a chance to look at enrollment on Wednesday.
Numbers show a steady decrease in the number of students. This means less in the overall budget.
A budget analysis reflecting the 2016-2017 school year and on shows declining enrollment rates for Savannah-Chatham Schools, but it’s not something they weren’t prepared for.
“We’re seeing declining birth rates each year which impacts 4 or 5 years later how many kids show up for kindergarten and so on and so on,” said SCCPSS District 1 board member Julie Wade. While Savannah-Chatham is seeing declining numbers, Effingham County schools say their enrollment numbers have increased over the past two years.
The district also says that another reason for declining enrollment is charter schools - the money follows the student to the school they attend. The district’s budget director Paige Cooley says these declining enrollment numbers will mean a smaller budget to work with.
“We have to look at areas to cut and unfortunately about 85 to 87 percent of our budget is built around salaries," says Cooley. "So that leaves probably less than 15% non-salary dollars to cut.”
This will be a challenging task as the governor has called for teacher raises. Right now, the district is crunching numbers to see what they have to work with. As the board took in this reality, Wade says they will keep students and teachers a priority.
“I think for the whole board, it’s how do we maximize the dollars to achieve excellent academic outcomes so we will look at that," she said. "We always get to 0 and I’m sure we’ll get to 0 again this year but keeping the students and teachers in front of mind is a priority.”
The board will get the preliminary budget in May with the adoption to come in June.
For more information from the presentation, please click here.