NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark (KTHV) - The North Little Rock School District needs to cut millions of dollars from its budget to get back on track and because of that students will not see some teachers next year.
The district is being hit by a lot of things right now. Desegregation funding cuts are at the top of the list. Add to that the tax error that was discovered by the assessors office a few months ago. The district is making needed cuts while trying to not take too much away from the kids.
Now that school is out, Jeremiah and Isaiah plan to play basketball all summer long. Next year, Jeremiah will be in third grade at Amboy Elementary School, and Isaiah will be in second.
"We have Spanish," said Isaiah. "My favorite thing is we have PE," said Jeremiah.
Donald McCuien does not want to see his kids' favorite activities get cut. "The activities are good for them to have other than school," said McCuien.
"What we are trying to do right now is make cuts that do not affect the children," said North Little Rock School District Chief Financial Officer Denise Drennan.
The North Little Rock School District is losing $7.6 million a year as desegregation funding phases out in five years. The district figured out they needed to cut about $14 million over several years. They are expecting to save about $8.3 million by reducing the number of schools and about $6 million through other cuts spread out over three years, such as early retirement and program cuts.
"Consolidating the schools helps," said Drennan.
The school district is going from 21 to 13 campuses. It is part of a $265 million dollar capital improvement plan. The money made from the 2012 millage increase will still go towards paying this debt off.
"That was part of the CIP plan all along," said Drennan. "That does not help with desegregation funding."
More than five positions have been eliminated. One of those was an elementary school principal. 81 employees accepted a buy out. Some of those positions will have to be replaced.
"There is a fine line to try to walk to make sure, you still increase your graduation rate," said Drennan. "And you still give your children everything they need but you have as much money as possible."
An example of a program that has been cut is driver's ed in the summer. Only three students signed up. Drennan says they are making cuts to programs that are not being utilized.