Parents learn about proposed cuts in Fayette County schools - FOX 35 News Orlando

Parents learn about proposed cuts in Fayette County schools

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FAYETTE COUNTY, Ga. -

Hundreds of people turned out in Fayette County to learn about budget cuts to the school district. After years of explosive growth and constant expansive, the district is now looking at shutting down schools.

Fayette County schools are typically at the top when it comes to test scores and school rankings, but now that the growth has slowed and housing prices have tumbled, they're facing millions in budget cuts.

Many of the parents who packed into the Fayette High School cafeteria on Thursday moved to Fayette County for one big reason: the quality schools.

"I love all the schools in Fayette County. They are all really good schools," said parent Arnold Powell.

A $20 million budget shortfall means that multiple schools could close.

"The reality for our school system is we've lost 2,000 students in the last four years, we've lost $25 million in revenue and we have to be as efficient as we can with the resources we have," said Fayette County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff Bearden.

The superintendent laid out the problem and the possible school closures for parents. The crowd was then broken up into small groups where they could share their ideas and concerns.

Melissa Hill is worried about what closing Tyrone Elementary would mean for the town.

"People move there just for those schools and I also sell real estate. I know what's going happen to our town if they close the schools," said Hill.

But school officials say they overbuilt based on expectations of population growth before the real estate crash

"The school system was building schools, buying land in anticipation of increased enrollment... Hindsight's 20/20 -- we overbuilt. We have more schools than we need for the students we have," said Bearden.

The cuts and school closing would be for the 2013-2014 school year.

School administrators say this is the first of many opportunities for the public to have a say in the process. But the bottom line is that million in cuts must come from somewhere.

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