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BOE to lose $1.25 million in new cuts

By By PAUL KEANE – Special to The Standard
Four days, $1.25 million in lost revenue.
Escambia County Superintendent of Schools Melvin "Buck" Powell received a double blow on both sides of the weekend -- learning on Friday that his district should prepare for another 5 percent cut in state funding, then learning that the City of Atmore is planning to cut more than $250,000 in school funding from a city sales tax ordinance that was passed nearly 40 years ago.
Powell said the district was already projecting a $5 million funding shortfall through proration, and that another $1 million would mean possible personnel cuts. Powell and his staff have been conducting town hall meetings in Brewton and Flomaton to discuss the funding crisis and what can be done about it.
The final of the three meetings will be held at 6 p.m. on Feb. 6 at Escambia County High School. After that meeting, the Board of Education will meet later in the month to make a formal proposal on local funding, with that proposal including the possibility of raising ad valorem (property) taxes and/or sales taxes.
Powell said that non-tenured positions would be looked at first, but he hopes that attrition through retirements, job changes and other actions would take care of some of the burden.