Putnam City Schools Release Budget Reduction Plan

Monday, April 4th 2016, 8:23 pm
By: News 9

The Putnam City School Board released its plans to stay afloat during the state education budget crisis.

One of the ten items on that plan includes turning D.D. Kirkland Elementary into an early childhood learning center.

The board voted Monday to approve that item which will transform the school allowing it to serve only pre-kindergarten through second grade. They also approved new boundaries for 3rd to 5th graders.

"I just think it's ridiculous. They didn't even give us a chance," said Cathey Cunningham, who has a grandchild at Kirkland.

Cunningham was among many other families with kids at D.D. Kirkland who were fuming over the vote.

"I just don't see the rhyme or reason," she said.

Parent after parent went before the board with concerns about the change.

"It really causes a really hard family dynamic for us," said Kevin Moore, a parent with two children who attend Kirkland.

"My second grader is going to be instantly affected by the split of Kirkland," he explained.

Some were so desperate to save the school, they offered money from their own pockets to meet the projected $273,000 in savings.

4/4/2016 Related Story: Putnam City Parents Rally Together To Try, Save Local School

Superintendent Fred Rhodes said fundraising efforts would need to be discussed with legal counsel and there are concerns about sustainability.

And after the discussion, four board members voted yes and the president abstained.

The newly approved pre-kindergarten proposal is one of ten ways the district plans to lower the budget for next year.

To save more money, the district will also trim athletic programs at all levels, reduce 38 teaching positions through attrition and scale back some summer school and after school programs.

"I think it's a travesty. I think they can do a lot more than what they're doing," Cunningham said about the cuts.

Click here to see the full list of budget reduction items.