MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - After hearing a 70-page proposed budget for the 2014 fiscal year, Bibb County school board members decided to hold off on approving it.
Thursday interim Chief Financial Officer Sharon Roberts presented the tentative budget, which would shave off nearly $14 million from the 2013 budget, which totaled aroudn $284 million. The cuts have major implications for the school system, including possible layoffs, school consolidations, school closings, pay cuts and hour cuts. The budget would aim to overcome the $18 million budget shortfall within the school system. To view the entire budget as presented, click here.
Seven of the eight board members raised concerns about voting for the proposed budget only minutes after hearing it, saying that is not sufficient time to look at it and get a grasp of what it means for the school district. Board member Jason Downey also worried the tentative budget "pre-supposed" certain changes, including consolidating Burghard and Barden Elementary.
Those changes would not happen until after multiple public hearings scheduled for June. However, voting on the tentative budget, according to acting superintendent Suzanne Griffin-Ziebart, would give the public a chance to look over it before attending those hearings. The public will have the chance to voice their concerns on the matter at the forums.
Board member Ella Carter wanted to proceed with approving the budget, but the other board members disagreed. Members of the audience also muttered their disapproval of that motion.
The board will meet again on June 6th to discuss the tentative budget.
SCHEDULE FOR PUBLIC FORUMS
Wednesday, June 5th, 6:30 pm at Jones Elementary School
Monday, June 10th at 6pm at Board Office
Tuesday, June 11th at 6:30pm at Barden Elementary School
Monday, June 17th at 6:30pm at King-Danforth Elementary School
Tuesday, June 18th at 6:30pm at Burghard Elementary School
On June 20th, the budget will be brought before the school board for final approval.