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      Columbia Public Schools plan to cut almost $2 million in their budget

      The Columbia Public School Board plan to cut almost $2 million from the budget for the next school year.

      Board members said that will help them afford the necessities.

      The cuts include the loss of two school resource officers from two junior high schools. This has some teachers upset.

      "I really feel like those school resource officers provide a perception of safety for our students, teachers, and parents. We know that safety is essential, Jefferson Junior High Teacher Jill Villasana said. Kids have to feel comfortable and safe if they are going to learn anything. So if our primary mission is to educate our students they have to feel safe first."

      Superintendent Chris Belcher said more cuts will come from student activities.

      Belcher told me they plan to cut almost $400,000 from teachers' curriculum budgets.

      He said most of the teachers he talked with were not aggravated because they understand the situation Columbia Public Schools are in.

      "Our teachers have been very understanding of this whole financial situation. We talk to them a lot. We let them know what we're doing, and certainly they don't like certain things, Columbia Public Schools TM Superintendent Dr. Chris Belcher said. But they understand the reality is the budget is what the budget is and we have to make those decisions."

      The district said it needs more money for utilities, transportation, fuel, technology, and teachers.

      Yet, the school board plans to cut 17 personnel positions.

      Belcher said while a couple people were surprised their job was eliminated, most of those positions have disappeared because someone resigned or retired.

      "This year are budget is strong enough so what we did was realign positions, Belcher said. In other words we knew we had more kids in certain grade levels and more special education students in certain areas, so in order to add staffing to those programs we had to cut those in other areas."

      Belcher said the district will more than likely see more cuts next year due to the state's revenue shortage.

      Even at $2 million, this year's budget cuts are not as severe as last year's.

      A year ago, the board cut $5 million from the district's spending plan.

      What do you think of Columbia Public Schools' budget cuts?