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Clay County school board facing budget crunch

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Updated: 9/21/2013 1:58 am
FLEMING ISLAND, Fla.-- Local schools are starting to feel the pain after leaders demanded across the board cuts in one school district.

As we first told you in May, the Clay County school district's reserve fund fell below the state standard. Since then we've learned it's even lower than school leaders thought it was. We obtained a letter Superintendent Charlie VanZant is sending to the state. Right now, only 2.1 percent of the districts projected revenue sits in reserve funds. That's well below the 3 percent requirement. If it falls just a fraction more, the state could take over. "We're going to work toward 3 percent, and the target date is June 2015," said VanZant.

The letter blames fewer students coming to the district, and higher costs for teacher's retirement funds for why the fund is low. There also appear to be spending issues in the district. "This is the first year in five years that expenses have not exceeded revenue," said VanZant.

All the spending over the past few years, means 5 percent cuts in every department. That means fewer materials and supplies in the classrooms and fewer positions being filled.

The state could not tell us Friday what steps it will take next because they have not yet seen the letter. The school board is also considering furloughs, but one board member told us, that is a last resort option.
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