By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – About 40 non-certified personnel in the Calhoun County School District could be laid off if some of the budget cuts made by Gov. Haley Barbour are not restored.
Schools Superintendent Mike Moore said Thursday the cuts are not certain, but administrators are preparing for them.
“This is one option,” Moore said. “If we lay off some of our non-certified staff after spring break, we could save $200,000 and save four or five teachers next year.”
Certified staff cannot be laid off, but the district can choose not to renew their contracts at the end of the school year.
Moore said part of the final decision will be determined by how much money – if any – is restored during the legislative process. The Calhoun County School District has been cut $1 million this year. The total cuts to education statewide from the kindergarten through university level are about $285 million, or 8.7 percent.
Legislation vetoed by Barbour on Wednesday and upheld by the Senate on Thursday would have restored $50 million of the funds cut from education. It would have restored almost $181,200 to Calhoun County.
Rep. Preston Sullivan, D-Okolona, whose district includes portions of Calhoun County, said he was disappointed the governor vetoed the legislation restoring the money.
“I hope they can work it out,” he said. “I don’t know how they can operate a school without janitors, people to turn on the lights and keep the schools clean.”
Rep. Jim Beckett, R-Bruce, expressed hope that legislative leaders and the governor can agree on a new plan to restore some of the money to the school districts.
“I hope we can finish the school year with the staff we have,” Beckett said. “I am ready to vote for an agreement to restore some of the cuts if one is worked out.”