State proration affecting local school systems

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - by Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Alabama educators are reacting to raising the proration of the education budget from 7.5% to 9.5%. "I was disappointed," said Alabama School Superintendent Joe Morton.

Proration will be in effect from the rest of September until the new budget and fiscal year begins in October. "It's regrettable we have to have that happen less than two weeks before the end of the fiscal year. All of that two percent will have to come out in one chunk." Morton said.

In Jefferson County, the cut will mean the loss of $3.6 million.

This will force the school system to dip into it's $56 million reserve fund. "You do have that balancing act on how much you take out of the reserves and how much service you provide," , said Jefferson County School Superintendent Phil Hammonds.

In Birmingham, proration means the loss of almost $3 million. The school system is looking at options. This includes cutting back on contracts and asking the state for flexibility to dip into special education or transportation funds.

The last resort is to dip into the school system's $20 million line of credit. Still, the state's teacher union expects Birmingham to solve the problem. "Our main concern for the month is every employee across the state receive those paychecks. Districts are cash strapped, districts are broke. They are going to have to go back to the bank and make payroll. We will make sure employees gets that paycheck."said Lance Hyche. He's with the  Alabama Education Association.

Meanwhile there is concern about the new budget in the new fiscal year. "I think we have great concern about next year. We heard projections for one percent, three percent to five percent. Really no one knows right now." Hammonds said.

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