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Decatur County Schools hope to avoid furloughs, layoffs with CARES Act funds

Posted at 6:13 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 18:13:33-04

DECATUR COUNTY, Ga. (WTXL) — More than $400 million will be handed down to school districts across Georgia as part of the CARES Act funding for coronavirus relief.

Decatur County Schools anticipate receiving about $2 million in CARES Act funding and they plan to use it to protect the county's teachers.

According to a memo sent May 1, the Georgia State Legislature is requiring all state agencies to prepare for a 14 percent reduction in their annual budgets, including local school systems.

Because of the required cuts, superintendent Tim Cochran says the funds couldn't have come at a better time.

"It's salaries and benefits, so anytime you have a budget cut that's where it impacts you the most because that's where most of the budget lies, is in the people you have," said Cochran. "So that's always our concern, is that we can take care of our people and we have enough people to take care of our kids."

Cochran says with the CARES Act funds added to his current budget plan, he should be able to avoid furloughs and layoffs as long as long as the cuts do not exceed 14 percent.

"It will help offset a lot of the cuts that we have," Cochran said. "We'll still have cuts that we have to absorb locally and we'll do that by trimming some positions and leaning our staff up a little bit more."

Cochran says his district plans to absorb the cuts by implementing a hiring freeze.

The CARES Act allocations are based on Title I eligibility. All of the schools in Decatur County are Title I schools.

State agencies, including school boards like Decatur County, are required to finalize their new budget plans and submit them to the legislature by May 20.