MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) — The superintendent of the Fort Gibson school district says cuts in state funding have officials facing the likelihood of layoffs next year.
Derald Glover says the budget may be down by as much as $700,000 because of budget cuts and lower property tax collections.
"The only thing we can is (cut) people," Glover said. "We're going to cut all we can that's not staff this year, but we're going to have to cut positions (next year) and try to protect programs the best we can."
He said the cuts are most likely to come at the secondary level.
"We may lose a math teacher, we may lose a science teacher, we may lose an English teacher and just have bigger (class) sizes instead of putting all the cuts in one program.
"Cutting elementary teachers would be difficult because those class sizes are now 20 to 24."
Fort Gibson schools are feeling perhaps more of a budget pinch than some schools because not only have state funds been cut by more than $240,000, the districts ad valorem (property) valuation has gone down about $1.5 million, Glover said.
Most of that is because the valuation of the OG&E generating plant has been reduced about $4 million. The valuation is the number taxes are collected on, not the amount collected.
The districts actual loss by the lower valuation is $65,000 to $75,000 for this year, Glover said.
State funding has been reduced by 5 percent until this month, when it was cut by 10 percent, Glover said.
"State projections are that cuts in the fiscal year that begins July 1 will be worse," he said.
Glover said he and other administrators are putting plans together with different scenarios to determine how the cuts will be made.
"A lot depends on who retires," he said. "If certain people retire (older teachers) retire, you can shuffle people and maybe not cut as many. We'll look at attrition and base our cuts off that."
Information from: Muskogee Phoenix, http://www.muskogeephoenix.com