News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, June 27, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Richmond County Board of Education approved a new budget Wednesday. School leaders gave us the inside story on the budget battle.
The school system faced a $34 million shortfall. School leaders will take $10 million from the reserve fund to help fill the budget hole. It also calls for nine furlough days and the elimination of 100 positions.
"Those positions are, for the most part, eliminated through attrition," said Student Services Executive Director Dr. Carol Rountree. "No one loses a job."
We can expect increased class sizes and a reduction in teacher assistants.
"Teacher assistants help keep the teachers teaching," said Monique Braswell, president of the Richmond County PTA. "They're increasing the class sizes ... you're phasing out teacher's assistants. I have a major major problem with that."
Administrators say they have simply applied for waivers to allow for an additional three to five students.
"We don't have to increase class size unless the necessity arrives within a particular school," Rountree said. "It means if we had to raise it, we have the ability to do it, and we don't lose funding."
School leaders say they are trying to make the best of a tough budget cycle.
"We can't totally lay all the blame on the Richmond County Board of Education," Braswell said. "Remember the cuts started on the state level first."