Columbia County schools again dip into reserves

The Columbia County school board gave final approval Tuesday to a budget that is more than $3 million short of expected expenditures.


The budget for next school year projects about $165.1 million in revenues and about $168.6 million in expenditures.

Superintendent Charles Nagle said officials will dip into their reserve fund to make up the difference.

By retrieving about $3 million from reserves, officials expect to balance next fiscal year's budget. The board has already approved pulling $1.5 million from the reserve fund to balance the current budget.

The withdrawals drop the reserves to about $26 million.

Without making more cuts, school officials said they had to pull from reserves to compensate for a $6 million loss in state funding. Already the school system has eliminated 17 teaching positions, two counseling positions, cut middle school Spanish-language instruction, cut funding for instructional supplies by 10 percent, and included five furlough days in next year's school calendar.

Nagle said officials cut as much as they could "without further jeopardizing classroom instruction."

Also, the board adopted a resolution increasing class sizes for next school year.

Earlier this year, the state Board of Education allowed local boards to waive class size limits to address budget constraints.



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