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Schools may be getting more from state
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The Georgia General Assembly has passed a bill that will restore approximately $905,000 of equalization money to the Effingham County School System.

Superintendent Randy Shearouse said several weeks ago he heard that the governor was suggesting taking the money from 16 systems in the state, and he immediately contacted area legislators.

Shearouse said this is part of the budget process that also looks at how much a system grows during the year and gives systems funding for the increased number of students.

“Hopefully, the Senate is kind enough to pass the measure as well,” he said.

He said the equalization money is granted to areas where land area is less than others.

“It’s given to us because we can’t raise as much money to equalize funding,” Shearouse said.

He said the money is used primarily for salaries and instructional equipment.

Shearouse said the House of Representatives is also working to restore funding taken from austerity cuts. He said since the austerity cuts have been placed, the system has lost approximately $6 million.

The school system’s general fund budget for fiscal year 2008 is $81.7 million.

“It puts a lot of pressure on the system as money is taken away,” Shearouse said. “The burden is shifted to the local board.”

He said the only avenue the board of education has to raise funds is through property taxes.

Shearouse said the board never likes to raise taxes, but when the state reduces funding to the district, it makes it difficult for the system to operate.