Natchez-Adams School District officials: State budget cuts will not affect teaching

Published 12:26 am Sunday, March 5, 2017

By Christian Coffman

NATCHEZ — Despite an $81,000 state budget cut, Natchez-Adams School District officials said they feel confident education in the district will not be greatly affected.

On Feb. 21. Gov. Phil Bryant announced emergency budget cuts of up to $43 million for the state of Mississippi. Included in Bryant’s order were $11 million deducted from education, including $80,906 for the Natchez-Adams School District.

Email newsletter signup

The cuts were made because revenue numbers continue to fall below state projections. Bryant’s cuts were the fifth round of cuts in two years.

Despite the setback, Natchez-Adams School District Business Manager Monica Anderson, said the district is in good shape to take the blow.

Anderson said the district has already received 74 percent of its expected revenues while having only expended 64 percent of the districts budget.

“As of now the teachers and staff are not affected by these cuts,” Anderson said. “Students will not be affected either.

“It will be education as usual,” Anderson said.

Anderson said $32,573 has been cut from state enhancement funds for building and buses. The district’s maintenance department uses this money. The cuts will affect the maintenance and repairs of school buildings. Because of the age of the district’s buildings and air-conditioning units, the cost of maintenance and repairs have exceeded the budget, Anderson said.

During the most recent school board meeting, Superintendent Fred Butcher said the administration continues to monitor the budget and with the exception of the maintenance department, most departments are in good shape this year.

“Air-conditioning units keep breaking down, and it seems like the warm season is coming earlier this year,” Butcher said. “(We) might have to cut back some in the maintenance department.”

Anderson said the district will determine what needs to be done under the current budget, including bathroom and air-conditioning repairs.

“From now until the end of the school year, we will only do priority jobs that could hinder instruction if not repaired,” Anderson said.

The district is currently meeting with the administrators and principals to discuss scheduling, staffing, and how to budget and prepare for the next school year.