The board met last week in Rome during their annual retreat to discuss the tentative budget, which will be formally presented June 6 during the board's regular Monday work session.
The budget of $116,682,353 discussed during the retreat risks a shortfall of about $15.8 million if funds are not acquired through budget cuts, fund reserve, or other means discussed by the school system.
The statement reads, "Even though the state has realized 11 months of positive economic growth, the school system funding has been significantly reduced.
"We have lost enrollment over the past couple of years, which represents some of the lost revenue. However, the majority of the loss is from a significant reduction in state funding. In 2010-2011 our support from the state was $62,706,235.
"Unfortunately, our local funding has declined by almost $1.5 million, which is a total loss in funding of over $8.5 million. We have reviewed funding in every category and will need to reduce in many areas in order to balance the budget. The board and I will do everything possible to safeguard classroom instruction and class size.
"In order to balance the budget, we will use several strategies: reduce the work schedule, not replace staff that retired or left the system, reduce the number of work days for some staff members, reduce teacher allotments where possible, not purchase some operational software and use as much fund balance as possible.
"The staff received an email [Thursday, May 26] giving them some basic information regarding the budget concerns and some of the proposed reductions. They were also informed that the board will make it a priority to ensure our students receive 180 days of classroom instruction next year. We are very confident that we have the outstanding and dedicated teaching staff to continue to provide top quality instruction to all of our students. We also hope that this will be the last year of overwhelming budget reductions to public education in Georgia."