Madison City Schools leaders: budget cuts are planned

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT)-- Madison City Schools has a deficit to overcome.

Superintendent Dee Fowler said that before the board passed a budget amendment earlier this month, the shortfall had reached $2.4 million. He said that school leaders are working on it, and they've reduced it by $700 million through energy savings and bond refinancing. But there's still a $1.7 million dollar deficit to reduce in next year's budget.

He blames the Limestone County tax issue as the main reason for that.

All thisĀ could mean cuts are coming. Some may be across the board, but other targets are:

"We're looking at budget cuts in our divisions that have the largest budgets. For example, technology will receive a pretty big cut. Maintenance will receive a pretty big cut."

He said the details aren't ironed out yet, but that may mean laying off computer upgrades for a year, orĀ cutting out certain projects or paint jobs on buildings until there's more money to do it.

The main idea, he said, is to keep cuts from getting deep enough to affect children's education.

"We're trying to keep the cuts out of the classroom where kids are not directly affected," he said.

Fowler told WHNT layoffs are not in the works. He said the only way they would likely cut personnel is to eliminate jobs that are already vacant.

The remaining $1.7 million dollar shortfall isn't something that will be easy to reduce, but he said the school leaders are optimistic.

"There might not be a way to get the whole $1.7 cut this year, but we're also optimistic as we work for a resolution with this taxing issue," he explained. The board and superintendent will continue to explore their options and examine next year's budget to see how to best move forward.