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Vidalia School Super Disappointed in Governor's Budget
Wednesday, 14 January 2009

January 14--  Vidalia's school superintendent is looking for ways to cut about $1 million out of the school system's budget without having to fire anybody.  At Tuesday night's school board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Tim Smith was fairly confident he could do it through a combination of attrition, and adjustments to health insurance and local salaries.  Now, he's not so sure.

Dr. Smith got a look at Governor Sonny Perdue's education budget Wednesday morning and was unhappy at what's being proposed.  The governor proposes eliminating state support to pay for graduation coaches and school nurses. Vidalia has two graduation coaches and two school nurses and no money in the budget to fund them next year.

Equally disturbing, according to Dr. Smith, is the Governor's plan to eliminate $12 million which pays for a statewide network of Regional Education Service Agencies (RESA).  Dr. Smith says the local RESA provides direct support to local teachers which local school systems can't afford on their own.  It also buys supplies on a wholesale basis and gets volume discounts for the local school systems it supports.  It's loss would mean a major increase in the Vidalia schools' supply budget, according to Dr. Smith.

The superintendent says he's already lodged his objections with Senator Tommie Williams and Representative Greg Morris.  He's hopeful some of the cuts will be restored as the budget makes its way through the legislature.

Meanwhile, there's good news regarding the ongoing $9.5 million construction project at Sally Meadows Elementary School.  Architech Mike Parker informed the school board the project is three-and-a-half months ahead of schedule and slightly under budget.  He complimented McDonald Construction Company for their work and said the school's 4th and 5th graders will be able to move into their new classrooms starting February 20th.  Parker expects work on the school's new cafeteria to be completed before the next school term starts in August.

School board member Hal Chesser was named to represent the Vidalia Board of Education on the governing board of the Southeast Early College and Career Academy planned for construction on the campus of Southeastern Tech. 

 
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