Jackson County School Board Budget Cuts and Changes

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Marianna- The Jackson County School Board has operated in a deficit for the past two years.

"But," Jackson County School Board member, Terry Nichols explained, "we had adequate surplus. We're sitting in a position where we're probably fiscally in one of the best situations in the state of Florida."

As the board members looked at the numbers, they found some of the millage rates and taxpayer fees had changed, but the overall millage rate would remain the same.

A mill is $1 for every $1000 in value of home or property, minus any tax exemptions. 1-mill on a $100,000 home, minus the $50,000 homestead exemption, would be $50.

"We're looking at pulling money from the assets- sale taxes money that we have- and using that money to be able to meet some of the capitol outlay service projects that we have, as far as repairs" Nichols said.

But Nichols said some cuts were still necessary. "The majority of the cuts have come from personnel" he explained. "We've lost 150 to 180 students and we're projected to lose more. That's the biggest place we spend money, so that's the first place we need to cut."

The board estimated a need to cut 41 and a half instructional and non instructional positions, and School Resource Officers, from ten to seven.

SRO's will alternate their time between schools. Marianna High and Middle School, Cottondale, Graceville, Malone and Jackson Alternative have been selected to be staffed with officers at all times.

The board was hoping Jackson County commissioners would help fund officers, but the county refused.

"We have $120,000 in savings that we just need to put in place because we've got to work through this budget deficit we have now" Terry Goodson said.

The board had already approved $537,000 to buy five new school buses, but decided to hold-off on that expenditure.

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