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Jefferson Schools Back in the Black, Still More Cuts

By Lynn Hatter

Tallahassee, FL – Jefferson County Public Schools are finally out of the red when it comes to the district's finances. But now they have to maintain that. The state is calling on Jefferson to have about three-percent of its overall budget in reserves, and that means another round of cuts are on the way.

Last year, the school district was running almost a million dollars in the negative. But now, it's back in the black. State law says there needs to be a reserve fund in place. For Jefferson, that means having $260-thousand in the bank. To meet the requirement, it has to find another $150-thousand. Superintendent Bill Brumfield says the district may have to do more layoffs and budget freezes.

"We're going to sit down and look at everything. We're going to put a freeze and not spend anymore. There's money left in the bus barn budget. Freeze it. We'll have to wing it for the next few weeks of school. We're not buying anymore fuel, so that will help us save money."

Jefferson County has endured staff and teacher layoffs and is now selling off properties, one of which includes a portion of its old high school that's on the national list of historic places. The fund reserve has to be in place by June first.