Budget Cuts

Lamar County School District employees will see reductions in salaries and supplements as the district tries to battle a $1.5 million budget reduction – in addition to cuts from the state – during the next school year.

Employees were notified of the pending changes in a letter Wednesday from Superintendent Tess Smith, who said the total reduction in funds for the current school year was $409,754. The school board went over the budget during a work session last week before the regular meeting.

After cutting all school and department budgets, Smith said each teacher would lose $100 in local supplement and $75 insurance reimbursement. “The amount divided over 12 months is $14.58 per month,” the letter said.

District level certified positions, school administrators and district non-certified directors and managers throughout the district will also be reduced by one day, which is an average daily amount of $415, $346 and $312, respectively. Smith said these reductions would provide a savings of about $150,000 to the district.

Smith said in the letter the first priority was the personnel.

“Our goal throughout this process was to ensure that our current employees would have a job,” she said. ‘We have reduced some programs, which forced us to move people into other positions. We will continue to look for areas to reduce cost throughout the coming school year.’

Smith said some of the loss in funds was because the district did not see an increase in student enrollment in the 2016-17 school year as in past years.

“Due to that change in enrollment, we are no longer considered a high-growth district,” she said. “With the additional reduction in MAEP (Mississippi Adequate Education Program) funding and loss of high-growth status, our budget reduction for next year is $1.5 million. On top of that lost revenue, we have been told to anticipate cuts from the governor next year as early as the beginning of school.”

Smith told employees that the process of making budget cuts has been difficult.

“Please know that these decisions are never taken lightly,” she said. “Your commitment to the children of this district is truly appreciated. Thank you for what you do each and every day for them.”