Booneville School District leaders are preparing to absorb significant cuts to state and federal funding for the next school year.
Superintendent Dr. Todd English said the district anticipates a drop in funding from the Mississippi Adequate Education Program of around $400,000 for the 2017-18 school year. MAEP provides funding to schools in the state based on a number of factors including daily attendance in each school district.
English said the drop is in part due to a cut in funding for MAEP, but is also largely due to a leveling off of enrollment in the district. While enrollment is still higher than it was three years ago, they have not seen the same kind of growth year to year that they were seeing.
If enrollment were still where it was three years ago the district would have received a cut of $100,000.
They are also anticipating a cut of 22 percent to federal funding for the next school year.
The superintendent said the funding cuts are not unexpected and they have budgeted very conservatively for the current year in order to be prepared. They are holding off on filling positions made vacant due to resignations or retirements wherever possible and are reducing expenses in numerous other areas.
He said while they are making cuts, they are making sure nothing is cut that will reduce the quality of education in the district.
“We will not waiver on our commitment to provide the best education we can to every student,” he said.
English also recently told the district’s board about plans to expand a pod-based system of learning to first and second grade at Anderson Elementary School. The move will bring the two lower grades in line with the system currently used in third and fourth grades. The pod arrangement requires students to change classes as a group two to three times per day.
The benefit of the system is allowing teachers to specialize in the areas where their strengths are, putting each student with the strongest possible teacher for each area of study.
The superintendent said they’ve seen clear results in the academic progress made by students in the third and fourth grade using the system and believe it will greatly benefit the younger students as well.