DUBLIN — The Laurens County Board of Education voted to cut five consecutive days from the end of the current school year.
The move will save the system more than $200,000 in transportation, utilities and other costs, and is a response to state budget cuts, according to a news release from Superintendent Jerry Hatcher.
The last day of classes for students is now May 21 instead of May 28. Laurens County school employees will take furlough days mandated by the state to be taken before June 30 during this time, Hatcher said by phone Monday.
Holidays for staff and teachers are scheduled for May 24 and 25, and they will have in-service days from May 26 to May 28. Graduation for East Laurens High School still will take place May 28, and graduation for West Laurens High is still May 29. Board members approved the shortened school calendar at a retreat Thursday.
The change will not interfere with classroom instruction before Criterion-Referenced Competency and End Of Course tests, Hatcher said.
“We felt like this affected student instruction the least, and at the same time would save more money,” Hatcher said.
The board also considered cutting instruction over several Mondays, but ultimately decided that closing schools for five consecutive days would be more cost-effective. Hatcher also said doing so might cause hardships for families who would need to find child care on those days.
The school system receives more than 70 percent of its revenue from the state, according to a news release, compared with an average of less than 50 percent of state funding received by schools across Georgia.
The Laurens County school system has cut about $4 million from its budget this year, Hatcher said, cutting 45 employees from its payroll.
“We’ve cut in a lot of areas, and there’s not many areas left to cut,” he said.
To contact writer Andrea Castillo, call 256-9751.