School system is in black

It was reported yesterday that the Jefferson County School System would be faced with about a $14 million deficit going into the next fiscal year.

This is going to force the elimination of more than 200 jobs, school officials said.

That’s the same tune many school systems across the state are singing.

Luckily, Shelby County is different.

The Board of Education approved its budget for the 2003 fiscal year last week.

The budget accounts for about $165 million in revenues, $181.5 million in expenses and a $30 million carryover from fiscal year 2002.

That leaves an ending balance of some $11 million in the black &045; a place many systems only dream about these days.

The school board’s finance director said although the budget was conservative, it did not sacrifice programs that were necessary to meet the needs of Shelby County’s children.

Members of the Board of Education, the superintendent and his staff are to be commended for their efforts.

They are faced with some difficult things &045; the greatest of which is an ever-growing school population.

The extensive growth in population and estimates for the future are forcing the system to build at least one school per year for the next 20 years.

This is a hardship most school systems do not have to face.

Yet, Shelby County is facing it and handling it &045; even among the threat of depleting state funds.

Our Shelby County schools will welcome students back today with open arms &045; with security in the present and with hope for the future.

Let’s all say thanks to members of the board, the superintendent and the many teachers and support personnel who provide educational opportunities for our children