In a 4-1 vote, the Jackson County Board of Education agreed Monday night to proceed with a restructuring plan designed to cut $6-$7 million from system expenses. Included in the plan, which will take effect in the upcoming FY2013-2014 budget, will be the consolidation of some schools, including the move of South Jackson Elementary School into the current Kings Bridge Middle School facility. The Gordon Street Center will also be shuttered in the restructuring.
The vote cumulates weeks of discussions by system officials about how to deal with a major financial crisis. The BOE learned in February that its projections of revenue for the current year would fall short by $3 million and that expenses next year are projected to go up by $4 million. In the weeks since, system officials have floated a variety of ideas looking for a way to keep the system from having a financial collapse as it did in 2010. In addition to the facilities consolidations, the system is also combining and eliminating some positions. But the system is also planning to have only two furlough days next year compared to the six it has this year. Additional furlough days could be added, however, if the school’s finances face an unexpected problem during the year. The restructuring plan is the first step in the system’s FY2013-2014 budget, which will be presented for approval in June.
In presenting the restructuring plan, superintendent John Green said the system’s “first priority is to be financially secure.”
“This is an urgent matter,” he said. “We cannot operate in a deficit.”
For the full story, see the April 17 issue of The Jackson Herald.