Bibb county schools will be pulling $8 million from the general fund to cover a budget shortfall this year.
Board members made the decision at a called meeting Thursday night. President Tommy Barnes says $4 million in state funding cuts and about $4 million in state-mandated benefits increases comprise the deficit.
He voted for the budget, along with Susan Middleton, Wanda West, Tom Hudson, and Ella Carter.
The budget reallocates funds and cuts certain services to bring spending in line with last year. Board member Lynn Farmer says those savings are going to the wrong areas.
"I certainly want to spend money in the classroom and on students, but i get very concerned when money moves outside of the classroom and we see an increase in spending or an increase in salary in central office salaries."
Middleton said boosting spending in administrative levels is not a waste of money.
"We have a low performing school district," said Middleton. "We have got to do something to staff develop our teachers, give them the tools to bring order to the classroom, and so there is an administrative piece to that, in terms of trying to change the direction of the district."
"We are not in a position to micromanage the superintendent," said Hudson who voted yes. He said had the superintendent's strategic plan received support from the beginning, the general fund, which will have a projected $15.7 million balance at the end of the year, would have remained healthy.
"You recall that part of the Macon miracle was going to combine some schools, that were low schools in terms of attendance, and also by not filling some positions it would have saved the school district anywhere between 23 and 28 million dollars."
But that part of the plan was removed after public outcry. Now, Middleton says, the district will have to make some unpopular changes to save the general fund.
"At some point you're gonna have to raise taxes, or you're going to have to furlough teachers or you're going to have to eliminate programs or you're going to have to restructure somewhat," she said.