For several weeks the word has been spreading that jobs are being cut in the Chattooga County School system. At last night’s meeting of the Chattooga County Board of Education, Superintendent Dwight Pullen estimated the total number of jobs to be cut between five and ten positions. Dr. Pullen explained that not only is the school system facing a budget shortfall which would necessitate the reduction in employees, also the school system has lost 162 students within the past two years and has seen a decrease of 97 special needs students in the same period. Meanwhile since 2006 the school system has had a net decrease of only 1 teaching position in the system. In 2006 there were 227 classroom certified teachers and in 2008 there were 226. In explaining the budget of the school system, Pullen stated that 87% of the school systems budget is spent on salaries, while 10% of the budget is spent on non-discretionary items such as electricity and fuel, with the remaining 3% or around $450,000 on discretionary items. The Chattooga County School system is facing a $500,000 shortfall in state revenue for the 2009 budget year and Pullen estimated as much as $1.2 million for the 2010 budget year. Local revenues are estimated to be off as much as $200,000. Under the Superintendent’s Recommendation for proposed Reduction in Force for the 2009-2010 school year all elementary music teachers would be eliminated, along with graduation coaches and a middle school drama teacher for a total of 15 positions being cut, eleven in elementary and middle schools and 1 at the high school along with 3 special
The board members and the superintendent discussed the timing of the job cuts and agreed that it was better to let those affected know as early as possible. Pullen stated that he should have firm numbers on retirements within the system by the next board meeting date.
Stay tuned to AM 1180 Chattooga County Radio and check back at chattoogainfo.com for more information on this story.