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Friday, November 20, 2009 - 7:53am

Budget Cuts Could Shorten School Year

With state revenues plummeting, more cuts to the state budget are a near certainty come next legislative session.

Lawmakers have said no agency will be spared, including public education.

Already many teachers are furloughed, several schools have gone to a four day school week to save money, others have volunteers in for substitutes. Last summer, State Superintendent Kathy Cox said schools were down to the bone.

Yet, Republican House Education Committee Chairman Brooks Coleman says more cuts are likely coming.

"We've cut programs all we can cut and then you get to the point... well you have salaries at about 90 percent of the dollar and you get to the point, hopefully we don't have to, but we may have to look over cutting some more days... rather do that and spread misery across the board, rather than letting people go and lose jobs."

Coleman says shortening the school year by five days probably won't happen until next school year because he says he thinks there's enough money to carry schools through the remainder of this year.

He says the $900 million in stimulus money will also help schools through 2011.

Economists predict Georgia won't see significant recovery until then after banks are repaired and jobs are created.