At Tuesday’s annual PTA conversations meeting with the school board, budget concerns were at the top of the list. Out of the 65 million dollars the school district receives from the county, more than 3 million dollars will have to be cut from the budget. The state could potentially cut back 129,000 dollars of their funding by 4.3 percent, forcing New Hanover County schools to go without an additional five million dollars. "Since we don't know what our budget will look like for next year. We are looking at multiple scenarios, so we are prepared to make what cuts we get asked to make,” said board member Elizabeth Redenbaugh. "At this time we don't know exactly what is going to take place with budget cuts. We are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best,” said board member Donald Hayes. One proposed reductions on the table could change the starting times for schools. That would help cut down on transportation costs, eliminating 16 buses on the road. Other proposed cuts go as far as reducing art and athletic programs by ten percent. Cutting down 25 percent of the nursing staff in schools is also an option. But, with board members trying to save as many jobs as they can, employees may be seeing cuts in other places. "If 85 percent of our budget is staff then we will have to get a little bit more creative and maybe not have so many layers in our staff so we have the operating budget. We have 15 percent, and if we are taking about cutting millions out of the operating budget, we are not going to have anything left,” said Stephanie Kraybill, the PTA council president. The board has until June to approve the final budget. By the end of this week, parents will have a chance to send in cost saving ideas directly to the finance department by a link on the New Hanover County school website.
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