Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 20, 2001

impact hits home


Staff Writer

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Troy City Schools are not suffering as bad as other systems, but are still feeling its impact.

Earlier this year, Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman declared a 6.2 percent across-the-board proration of the Education Trust Fund.

At first, he wanted state colleges and universities to take a larger cut, but the Alabama Supreme Court ruled state education budget cuts should be shared equally by K-12 and higher education. That decision killed the governor’s attempt to put more of the burden on higher education after he fought to protect K-12 and urged passage of the School Funding Act as "a safety net." Since the court’s ruling, he has ordered the state finance director to sell the bonds authorized by that act.

The impact to the Troy City Schools ended up being 3.80 percent, while the Pike County school system had a 4.13 percent cut.

But, Jones said, Monday night, the three-school system could be facing proration of up to 5 percent, which would translate into $413,366.

"Every time that occurs, children in the state and, more specifically, the city of Troy are being harmed," Jones said of funding cuts for schools.

The city school system will be able to accommodate the loss with funding in reserve, but Jones hopes the Alabama Legislature and governor are able to come to some sort of compromise during the upcoming special session. That session will focus on changing the corporate income tax structure and prevent more education cuts.

Another funding concern for the local school system is a decrease in sales tax revenue.

"We’re hoping they’ll be in pretty good shape," Jones said of additional money that will be coming in soon from an increase adopted by the Pike County Commission.

Although the school system has seen it’s share of trouble, Jones wants to assure the public "we are in good shape" and has no need to borrow money at this time.

Mild temperatures this fall have helped in the area of utilities since heating and air conditioning have not had to run constantly.

In other business, the board:

· Gave the nod to some personnel changes.

As a result of Ken Weil, assistant principal at Troy Elementary School, being called into active duty, the board authorized adjustments at its Oct. 15 meeting. Those changes include moving Suzette Helms to assistant principal at TES from counselor at Charles Henderson Middle School, Mabel Williams from STAR teacher at CHMS to counselor at the middle school and Betty McGilvary will be the STAR teacher.

The board also accepted the resignation of Tim Betts from his part-time position at TES and authorized Jones to hire a replacement, if necessary.

· Voted to allow Jones to take unused vacation days because of the days missed when he had surgery and during recovery.

· Congratulated Deborah Huggins for completing the State Department of Education’s Alabama Professional Education Evaluation Program for Teachers.

"It’s pretty intensive training," Jones said.

· Offered congratulations to the Charles Henderson High School football team for making it to the second round of the playoffs.

· Welcomed Jones, who has been recuperating from brain surgery, back to work.

Jones thanked the board and the entire community for the "outpouring of support" he and his family have received.

"This is a wonderful place to live," Jones said. "The outpouring of concern is something that has been a humbling experience."

He also expressed appreciation to his staff because "things have gone on" in his absence.

"I hope that does not mean I’m not needed," Jones said with a laugh.