MBOE work session gets heated over cuts

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Things were once again heated Tuesday at a work session of the Montgomery Board of Education about a recently-announced reduction in force.

Some board members say magnet schools have been disproportionately affected.

The school board announced last month 183 positions would be cut based on state funding.

The concern is that magnet programs schools have fewer students, because their programs require more individualized attention. Therefore, the cuts are felt more deeply.

“When you take away a magnet, say a strings, or a dance, or something like that – that’s why we have the magnets. That’s where we shine,” said District 1 Board Member Dr. Lesa Keith. “So to take it away is to rob these children of everything they even got into that school for.”

The superintendent says in other systems local property taxes make up the difference. But that’s not a possibility in Montgomery since property taxes here are so low.

“We are at a point in Montgomery where we only have 10 mills. So that local money, local support is not there to do what you could do in another system that has 58 mills,” said Montgomery Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Ann Roy Moore.

Off the top, board president Claire Weil spoke on her own behalf, giving her own opinion regarding the financial situation. She said she is an optimist but says bottom line, they have to reduce the budget by $12 million and that’s what will happen.

Weil also said if this city is as outraged as they seem to be, they can pass an ad valorem tax to properly fund the schools.

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