Suggestions for a more balanced school system budget

Published 9:22pm Friday, March 4, 2011

The Selma City School Board is hosting a series of town hall meetings to seek citizens’ opinions of the possible closing of three local schools, effective in 2013. The school closure is predicted by some individuals to save money.

Gov. Robert Bentley recently ordered an across-the-board cut of 3 percent in the state’s education budget, and the state superintendent of education predicts that some school systems will have to borrow money to stay open. The following are some recommended cost reductions in the Selma City School System:

Curtail school system’s membership to various professional organizations.

Reduce energy costs: Turn off lights in unused areas. Four- day central office work week during the summer.

Cut administrative/support costs: Eliminate administrative and support jobs in the central office. The former superintendent of education projected a savings of approximately $340,000. Reduce custodial costs: Outsource jobs when possible.

Reduce direct school/teacher supports: Reduce the amount of teachers who are paid from the general fund – Eliminate some elective courses – Place a moratorium on teachers’ workshops attendance.

Health services: Allow nurses to rotate their services among schools.

Overtime pay: Discontinue any overtime pay.

Decrease facilities costs: Implement a four-day school week with the state board of education’s approval. Increase the rental fee of school facilities to outside agencies.

Delay implementing some innovative initiatives that are not mandatory but are part of the system’s strategic plan to promote activities that foster 21st century learning for the global student.

Itinerant employees: Some elementary schools are assigned a 0.5 library media specialist unit from the Alabama State Department of Education Foundation Program. These librarians could become itinerant employees similar to some elementary guidance counselors.

During the current recession, school board members may wish to consider not accepting a monthly stipend until the economy recovers. This voluntary stipend refusal can pay a first year teacher’s salary, without benefits in the Selma City School System. A first-year teacher earns $36,114.00 in salary. It indicates the governing board is really concerned about keeping teachers in the classrooms, and putting children first. There is quiet discussion of a recall. But, a recall is too expensive in a city with a depressed economy, and it is too close to the election in October 2012.

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