Superintendents react to new budget cuts - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

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Superintendents react to new budget cuts

By Charles Herrington -  Bio | Email

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Devastating...that's what some local school superintendents say could be the result of new state budget cuts for fiscal year 2010 that Governor Barbour's office calls "inevitable." Some state officials say those cuts could be as much as 7 percent, and would affect agencies across the board.

Many school superintendents, already reeling from an earlier 5 percent cut in their budgets this year, say the last thing their districts need is another sizeable budget reduction.

"Another cut could be devastating to Jones County," said Jones County School Superintendent Steve Thrash.  

"It's going to be tough," said Lamar County School Superintendent Ben Burnett.  "We've cut them (budgets) to the bone already," Burnett said. 

But, more "cutting to the bone" might be necessary. 

Governor Barbour says a 12 percent reduction in state revenues for the first quarter of this fiscal year is compelling him to make further budget cuts. He says not only will he have to make cuts in Medicaid, but in education as well.

State law requires the governor to cut all agencies by 5 percent before any one agency is cut in excess of that amount. It also mandates all cuts above 5 percent be uniform across all agencies.

The governor wants officials with all state agencies to submit a report detailing their most essential programs and priorities by October 23rd.   

Today, the issue of new budget cuts was discussed by Pine Belt school superintendents and state lawmakers during a legislative luncheon in Hattieburg.     

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