Horry Co. Schools considers personnel cuts, furloughs for 2010 budget

North Myrtle Beach, SC - By Jennifer Grove - bio | email

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County School Board members will discuss the preliminary Comprehensive and General Fund Budgets for 2010-2011 at a special meeting Monday night.

As it stands, the preliminary budgets includes the addition of a student to middle and high school classrooms, as well as possible personnel cuts and/or furloughs.

One mother says she is tired of complaining about what is being done on the board level, so she is not only planning to speak out at the meeting, but also run for school board in her district.

"Somebody needs to speak up to the board and let them know how parents feel," Karen McIlrath said. "It's not just about one more child in the classroom."

McIlrath says she is worried the budget cuts will have long-term impacts on students.

"We can't look at ways to save money that end up costing our children," she added.

Board member Joe DeFeo says he stands behind the decisions the board has had to make.

"I don't believe they're going to have long-term effects," DeFeo defended. "We cut $30 million out of the budget last year and test scores have gone up."

But McIlrath is not convinced: "The thing is that if you really look at the scores - my background is nursing, I wouldn't say that there was improvement; the patient was stable."

While DeFeo and McIlrath disagree on whether the current cuts are already having a negative impact, there is no question in their minds that more cuts could be damaging.

"The problem can come up next year and the year after," DeFeo said. "If these cuts continue then I could see a problem coming down the road, but right now I believe we're in very good shape."

McIlrath says she is most concerned for the students who may not be interested in education or engaged in the classroom.

"The smart kids will always learn. They will always get their education," she said. "But my concerns are the kids who are not on grade level."

The special meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Monday at North Myrtle Beach High School, 3750 Sea Mountain Hwy., Little River.

People wanting to address the board should plan to arrive 15 minutes early to sign up for public comment.

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