School systems across the state are beginning to feel the impact from cuts in state funding. The city of Augusta has a million dollar gap to fill, which could put teachers out of work, take away sports programs, or possibly close schools. Augusta is struggling to come up with $1M to $1.5M to continue funding schools. Augusta has six schools in the city, there are two that could be shut down to save money. Hussey Elementary and Hodgkins Junior High are on that list. Combined, more than five-hundred students attend those schools. City Manager Bill Bridgeo says closing Hodgkins could close the budget gap. Bridgeo says he’s heard mixed reactions from community members. Some say shutting school doors isn’t the answer. If Hodgkins closed, students could end up going to Cony High where there is room to accommodate them.
Bridgeo adds school officials aren’t the only ones with tough decisions ahead. He’s had to let go of seven city employees recently due to less state funding. Tonight, a workshop session will be held to discuss proposed cuts within the school department. The meeting begins at 7 o’clock at the Capital Area Technical Center.