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Jackson Public Schools looking at cuts and layoffs to balance new budget

 Jackson Public Schools is looking at layoffs to balance budget post COVID-19 shortfalls.
Jackson Public Schools is looking at layoffs to balance budget post COVID-19 shortfalls. (WILX)
Published: May. 29, 2020 at 4:44 PM EDT
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Schools will likely look different when students head back to class in the fall.

Districts across the state are taking a look at their budget and deciding where to make cuts.

"You can't speak to how hard this is," said Jeff Beal, Jackson Public Schools Superintendent. "We were growing programs, adding people. Obviously as we move forward life changes a little bit."

The state is looking at losing $1.2 billion in the school aid fund, that means Jackson Public Schools need to cut $5 million from its budget for the next school year.

"You don't cut $5 million dollars and don't cut people," said Beal.

He added those cuts are going to happen across the district.

"There won't be anybody that's not impacted or affected by this. You can't cut 10 percent of a budget and expect you're going to have the same programming as a year ago," said Beal.

The state's school aid fund is made up of sales tax and lottery revenues.

Michigan's budget office said that fund is nowhere where near what was budgeted because of the stay home orders.

It's still unclear how badly schools will feel the burden because state leaders are hopeful the federal government will offer a bailout like the last recession.

With a new budget year starting July 1, Beal anticipates Jackson Schools could loose anywhere from $600 to $800 per student, which adds up.

"We went into this in good faith there was going to money to back-fill our expenses through this COVID experience," Beal said.

Beal says the district cannot look for money somewhere else. That's because the bond voters approved a couple years ago can only be used on construction projects.

Some districts are talking about splitting students up into two groups with each having in-person classes two days a week.

The leftover day would be used for deep cleaning.

Copyright 2020 WILX. All rights reserved.

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