HERNANDO, MS (WMC-TV) - Huge cuts to the DeSoto County Schools budget could have hurt students, but district leaders were prepared.
Ken Reid has dealt with school budgets for many years, so the DeSoto County Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations was not surprised when Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour announced a five percent cut to the Adequate Education program.
That adds up to a $6.26 million deficit for the district.
"Obviously it affects our bottom line," Reid said. "We had fully anticipated getting at least a five percent cut, but we budgeted accordingly. We don't feel like its a critical issue this year."
According to Reid, as tax collections remain down across the state, budgets will be affected. For DeSoto County, a few scheduled projects will now be put on the back burner.
"We have put purchasing new buses on hold," he said. "We've put some transportation projects we had planned to do on hold."
Reid said the district has also saved over a million dollars on energy costs over the past two years. But even with all of that, the economic forecast for the next couple of years looks bad, and makes future district budget planning difficult.
"If the state continues to cut the amount of money they're furnishing for us, and we continue to have the same number of students or more, were gonna have to look for new sources of revenue," he said.
Reid said 2012 could be a difficult year if current predictions hold true, but added that the district has been good managing its funds and no budget cuts will impact the classroom.