School cuts don’t cut deep enough

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 5, 2010

Natchez-Adams School District officials and board members have lauded their $300,000 expense cuts in their 2010-2011 budget as a big deal.

But the true scope of the cuts is much more miniscule when taken in context of the district’s combined spending.

On a $45 million annual budget, cutting out $300,000 equates to approximately two-thirds of 1 percent.

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To put that in more down-to-earth perspective, since most of us don’t work with so many zeroes on the end of our incomes, let’s compare their highly touted cut in terms of an average Adams County household’s income.

U.S. Census data shows that the mean household income was around $45,000 a few years ago.

Applying the level of school district cuts to that household would require a $300 spending cut or just $5.77 per week.

That doesn’t seem like much, does it?

Neither does cutting $300,000 out of $45 million.

Don’t get us wrong. We applaud the fact that the district reduced the amount of new taxes it requested from approximately $600,000 to $300,000. But we think it’s still $300,000 too much to pass along to taxpayers.

Had the district continued to sharpen its pencils and work to use taxpayer money wisely, it would seem any tax increase could have been avoided.

Many of the changes listed as part of the cuts simply make sense and likely should have been done years ago.

We hope this year’s round of cuts, as meager as they ultimately are, represents a sign of more positive stewardship of public funds for the school district.