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Hallsville school officials approve final 2016-2017 budget

The Hallsville Board of Education passed a final budget outline for the upcoming school year at Thursday night’s meeting.

The budget includes $427,854 in total reductions with the largest cuts coming from eliminating five full time teaching positions, which would save the school district $204,909.

The assistant superintendent position will also not be filled for next year.

The district was originally anticipating a complete salary freeze, but the proposed budget includes an increase in pay for experienced faculty and staff. This would cost the district $94,955. However, the district will no longer cover 100 percent of insurance costs for employees.

The district is also cutting close to $130,000 in services and supplies. This includes moving the PRIDE Academy program back on school grounds.

Some parents are concerned about the cuts in teaching positions as well as cuts in activity funds for the students. At Thursday night’s meeting one parent blamed school officials for overspending in the past.

“I think it’s a discussion we need to have as a larger community, everyone needs to be involved,” said Jon Bequette, Board of Education President. “We’ll certainly be engaging people, engaging our community. We need to start talking about the next budget as soon as possible.”

Hallsville’s financial advisor is projecting the the district to be deficit spending once again by the 2019-2020 school year.

“We tried very hard to distribute the reductions across the school district in an equitable way and to have the least impact on students as we can,” said Superintendent John Downs. “If we have to make continued reductions they absolutely will have a deeper impact on educational programs and on student learning.”

Downs said the financial advisor will work with the school district again next year.

Board members also briefly discussed advertising as a way to increase revenues for the upcoming school year.

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