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Budget battle continues in Wayne County

Created: 12/04/2013 5:45 PM WHEC.com
By: Joangel Concepcion

School officials in Wayne County are not giving up the fight as the battle for budget money continues. Eleven school districts are facing $5.4 million in cuts in next year's budget. School officials are calling the potential loss very scary. For decades, the county has shared sales tax revenue with school districts, but that could change. 

School officials are calling the potential cuts frustrating, especially because before Wednesday, they had no idea why the supervisors wanted to cut the money and where it was going to. On Wednesday, they got some answers, but before they did, they had some tough words for the board.

Laurie Verbridge, Wayne County Educational Coalition, said, “I know that many of you are sitting here with a tough job, but don't take it from here, especially not all at one, but don't do it.  I do intend to make it a mission. I will not sit back and watch this happen.”

School officials called this the first step to a resolution.  An open forum took place Wednesday where they expressed their concerns. Officials from all 11 districts were there for the PowerPoint presentation. They say the impact would be detrimental to the entire county. They say it would raise school tax bills, eliminate jobs and cut important programs. They say the students and  taxpayers will be affected significantly. 

The board says they want to use the money to fix roads and create economic development in the area. As of right now, the board says it is willing to listen. 

James Hoffman, Williamson Board of Supervisors, said, “Any loss of revenue would be a concern to us as well. It's very understandable why they are concerned.”

Robert Kelsch, Ontario Board of Supervisors, said, “We need to talk about this. $5.4 million is a lot of money in anybody's budget. The only way we will get to a good resolution is if we could talk to each other.”

There has not been a resolution yet, but there might be by the end of this year. The Finance Committee will meet next week and the supervisors' vote on the county budget is on December 17. 



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