$200K restored to Natchez-Adams School District

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 17, 2010

NATCHEZ — The state Legislature has restored some money to the Natchez-Adams School District, but it isn’t anything to brag about.

When you spend approximately $2 million a month on payroll, the $264,919 restored isn’t much, Superintendent Anthony Morris said.

“Anything that they do to try and help support public education is always greatly appreciated,” Morris said. “But for a $40 million total budget, you can see how (the restored money) falls into the scope of things.”

Morris said the restored money will go toward filling holes in the programs his administrative team deems need the money the most.

The forecast Morris said he has received from the state is that the state budget will be in worse condition next year, and that it could be the 2012-2013 school year before things start to improve.

If the budget continues to shrink, Morris said the district’s only options for acquiring more operating cash are to pursue grants more aggressively and to ask the local government for more support.

Morris said the school district’s board considers going to the Adams County Board of Supervisors for more support out of the question.

“The first accusation will be that we are increasing taxes,” Morris said. “We will have to operate with less.”

Morris said he thought the district was doing a good job operating with less money.

“It is just frustrating, to try to tighten our belt as tightly as we can,” he said. “The same accountability expectations are there, but we are being asked to do it with significantly less money.”

Salaries are the biggest expenditures, but Morris said he didn’t anticipate anyone being laid off.

Other districts are struggling, Morris said.

“There are 10 to 12 districts that will be in the red before the school year is out,” Morris said. “I hope we can weather the storm.”

He said he is hoping that if there are any cuts, they won’t be any worse than what the district has had to deal with this year. This year, the district had a total of $1.4 million cut.

The district’s total budget is $46,609,907, which includes money from local, state and federal sources. The state provides the most financial assistance to the district.