School board cuts costs

Published 9:30 pm Friday, January 9, 2009

The Selma City School Board is finding innovative ways to save money during proration.

Superintendent Austin Obasohan cut his travel allowance by 25 percent Thursday night, and the board quickly followed suit by suspending its out of state travel for the remainder of the school year.

Obasohan said it is his responsibility to set an example during tough times.

Email newsletter signup

“It has to start from the top,” Obasohan said. “Before I can cut anything, I have to cut mine.”

Obasohan’s travel allowance was $800. After the cut, his new allowance totals $200.

“I travel a whole lot. I will just have to adjust,” Obasohan said. “I just feel a sense of obligation to do that.”

School board President Barbara Stapp-Hiouas moved to suspend out of state travel at Thursday’s meeting. Obasohan said he is proud the board took the initiative to save money.

“It’s a team effort,” he said. “It shows leadership and courage. They understand the seriousness of where we are going, and what we are faced with.”

I told them, I don’t think I would ask for any other board members than what we had last night. It shows that they care about children.

Stapp-Hiouas said she does not think it is right for the board to continue draining money from the general fund to make expensive, out of state trips.

“We just can’t afford it,” she said. “I thought it was time that we took as little as we can possibly take out of the general fund.”

The board also voted to decrease the mileage rate paid to school system employees traveling in privately owned vehicles. The rate will decrease from 58.5 cents per mile to 55 cents per mile.

Obasohan has appointed Gerald Shirley, principal of School of Discovery, as head of the proration committee. The committee will find ways to save money without taking funds away from programs that benefit students.

Obasohan said the committee would present some recommendations to him next week.

“We’re going to look at several options,” he said. “We just don’t want our teachers and staff to panic at this point.”