Richmond County schools face more cuts

The Richmond County school system plunged deeper into its budgetary hole Tuesday as Superintendent Dana Bedden announced more than $800,000 in additional cuts.

 

Dr. Bedden told school board members that Gov. Sonny Perdue ordered a cut of $709,325 along with a 5 percent cut to the transportation budget for a total of $867,029. The governor also approved three furlough days and adjustments to state health insurance.

The cuts are on top of the $7.2 million shortfall the system is already facing -- and the problem isn't likely to end any time soon.

If things continue on the same path, Dr. Bedden said, it's likely more cuts will be needed by December or January.

"I'm not sure it's going to stop because all indications the revenue continues to decline in the state of Georgia," he said.

Mr. Perdue announced plans to balance the state's projected $900 million shortfall in July, saying he would withhold 3 percent from the state's education funding formula and the equivalent of three furlough days for all state-funded school employees.

Dr. Bedden said he hoped the transportation cut could be made up because fuel costs have yet to exceed the amount of money budgeted for gas this year.

"We are just going to have to deal with it within the current budget," he said.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3338 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.

NEW SAFETY DIRECTOR

Patrick Clayton, a former special agent at Augusta's Drug Enforcement Agency office, was appointed the new public safety director for the Richmond County Board of Education Police. Mr. Clayton said he plans to work with individual schools to identify the greatest problems facing them on a daily basis. He used fighting as an example and said he hoped to address the underlying causes of the problems. Former Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Richard Roundtree was nominated as the lieutenant for school safety.