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Bibb County school administrators propose cutting 97 jobs -- mostly teachers -- to deal with the $18 million deficit in their 2014 budget.

The plan would cut 28 elementary, 11 middle and 21 high school teachers and six assistant principals.

There may be changes to the school calendar as far as the number of days, plus other program cuts at the school level. School board members asked the administration to look at more cuts at the central office and the Welcome Center. They also discussed looking into money from athletics.

The school district must tell teachers by May 15 if they're not being rehired.

The plan, proposed by acting superintendent Susanne Griffin-Ziebart and assistants, would also bring big cuts in the district's Mandarin Chinese program, which has drawn national attention.

The program, launched last year by then-Supt. Romaine Dallemand, is aimed at teaching Mandarin to every student, starting in kindergarten.

Thursday night, a 6-2 vote by the school board gave the district the go-ahead to continue the reduction in force process. Administrators will look at individual employees who may be affected. They also plan to take current vacancies and retirements into consideration. Members Jason Downey and Lester Miller opposed.

The school board will get a more detailed plan during their next meeting May 3rd.

That meeting comes two days after Susanne Griffin-Ziebart's term as acting superintendent was up, but Thursday night, the board voted to keep her in that position until an interim is hired.

The application deadline for the interim job closed April 12th. The board has not yet decided how to narrow down their 29 applicants.

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