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Birmingham schools face closings, cuts

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — With student enrollment plunging, the head of Birmingham schools expects some school closings and layoffs will be ordered later this year.

Since 2003, enrollment has dropped steadily from 34,275 to 29,611 students, Superintendent Stan Mims said.

Slice jobs

He said school system will eliminate hundreds of jobs by this fall and decide in the next few months just how many of its 66 schools must close.

The school system must cut at least $15 million from its budget.

Three-part plan

Mims said he has a three-part plan to reach financial solvency: downsize the staff; consolidate schools; and sell property the system owns but doesn’t use.

Mims said he would rather make the job cuts in administration.

“I’d rather not give up our teachers,” he said.

The system finished its 2006 budget year spending $228 million — $6.7 million more than it took in.

To balance the budget, the district dipped into its reserve fund, leaving $10.6 million, less than half of what the state requires.

In 2003, the Birmingham school board, facing possible financial takeover by the state, approved $30 million in cuts that sliced 555 positions, closed nine schools and reorganized eight.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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