Beaufort School District hones in on new budget (video update: parents object to closures in final community meeting)

Flickr user TruthOut.org

Update June 1: Following up on our last update on possible school closures, and WSAV have posted on their website a story that details what the parents said in their third and final community meeting regarding possible closures.

Although closing or consolidating certain schools in the area could save in excess of $500,000, the propositions are vehemently opposed by parents and teachers alike.

Check out their story below:

 

Update May 24: As though you're somehow surprised, the proposal of school closures to make up a $1.6 million budget shortfall is going over like a lead balloon.

But school leaders say they have little choice now that county council has voted down a tax hike to better fund the schools in the face of rising costs

WSAV has a nice video report (watch that here) and The Island Packet has a nice written report (read that here.)

This was the last scheduled budget meeting until the slated third reading by county council on June 13. Whether or not that schedule holds true remains to be seen. I'd say to expect another meeting in a couple weeks.

Update May 23, school closure is back: Three months after the Beaufort County School Board voted to "continue to fund all of our county schools in their current building and under their current name," school closure talk is back.

This time the focus is on the 2012-13 school year.

I'll shoot you over to The Island Packet for the latest chatter on this one and if you'd like to attend a meeting on the upcoming school closure and budget debate, here's this list of meetings

Update May 11, airing of grievances: After Beaufort County Council killed a proposed May 9 that would have increased taxes 3% to fund local schools, WTOC followed up with some of those parents whose kids will likely be affected.

Check out the above video to see what those parents have to say. To get involved, follow this link for a list of times the county council will be meeting.

Update May 9: At the same Beaufort County Council meeting where a $2.5 million buyout of the Beaufort Commerce Park was shot down, leaders said no-way to the hoped-for 3% tax bump for schools.

The Beaufort School District had hoped to use the tax push to offset falling revenue and rising costs in addition to cuts (details in the prior update) but county council member wouldn't have it, voting near unanimously against the tax.

Head on over to The Island Packet for the story.

Update May 6, rising costs: The Beaufort School District is continuing to narrow its plan for its next budget, and the picture isn't terribly exciting.

Contained are millions in reduced programs, coaching, and jobs, an increase in millions in utilities, operations, and other overhead, and a tax bump to make up for falling state funding.

Ouch.

Bluffton Today has a nice bullet list on the cuts and increases (read that here) while The Island Packet has a nice narrative on the latest (read that here.)

If you'd like to share your two cents, check out the list of public meetings on the budget.

Update February 19: In a very lengthy meeting, the school board outlined some $7 million in proposed cuts.

More than half of that savings would come from growing class sizes and cutting math, science, and reading coaches.

The Island Packet has the most readable report and talks the most about the upcoming process, while Bluffton Today's report is less legible but has a nice bullet list of proposed dollar savings.

Update February 18: The Island Packet has a story with a bit more narrative about the upcoming cuts.

Included in that is a bullet list of a near-two dozen possible cuts that the district could do to recoup the $4 million; take a read here.

First reporting: While there was much celebration in the community that Shell Point Elementary and all other Beaufort County schools would be spared from closure, now the Beaufort County Board of Education will begin examining alternative options to save $4 million.

That process will really get rolling tomorrow, February 18, as the board holds a budget session at 8:30 a.m. at 2900 Mink Point Road

View the agenda here.

Stay tuned for news on where the cutting marks are made.

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