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Vidalia School Budget in Trouble
Tuesday, 12 May 2009

May 12--  The Vidalia City School System got a rude awakening this week which may result in some teachers losing their jobs next school term.

School Superintendent Dr. Tim Smith says a state decision Monday to increase the local share for health insurance will cost the Vidalia system some $805,000, money which is not included in the tentative budget which the school board adopted Tuesday night.

The board instructed Dr. Smith to come back with a balanced budget for approval in June.  "Unfortunately, with 90 percent of our budget being in salaries, I'm afraid this will mean some people will lose their jobs.  I instructed our staff this morning to go back and talk with their individual school staffs and start with people who are eligible to retire but didn't want to this year.  I'd rather this be voluntary than for me to have to invoke a reduction in force and start having to send people home with no money at all," he said.

In the meanwhile, Dr. Smith is looking at other options including administrative staff furloughs, job sharing by retirees and dropping extended year contracts.  However, he's afraid that won't save enough money to avoid some terminations.

Dr. Smith also told the board the long-awaited and much-talked about career academy at Southeastern Tech may have an enrollment problem.  He said only Vidalia High School has had any students express an interest in enrolling in vocational courses at the school.  If Toombs, Montgomery and Treutlen don't enroll any vocational students, Dr. Smith says he'll look for some part-time instructors to teach the Vidalia students on the VHS campus.  '

The Career Academy executive board has a meeting Monday night to discuss the dilemma, Dr. Smith says.

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