Fate of Chauncey Elementary School Still Up In The Air

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The Athens City School District is still trying to figure out what to do about its increasing budget deficit.

The school board held a special meeting last night to discuss the future of the district.

The district is facing an estimated $12 million shortfall by 2016 due to state funding reductions and a steady decline in enrollment.

The board is considering a number of options to reduce its budget, from shutting down Chauncey Elementary School and reducing staff to potentially implementing suggestions raised by Chauncey supporters that would not result in closing the school.

Superintendent Carl Martin says it is essential for the board to be making these difficult decisions as soon as possible.

"We've basically come to the conclusion that we all understand how we got here. We all understand where we're at. The numbers haven't really changed much since started looking at them. We really need to take action. The longer we wait, the more the deficit grows. The sooner we get toward fiscal watch and fiscal emergency. When you reach fiscal emergency essentially the state will appoint an oversee board, a commission, and that commission board will come in and tell us what we need to do. So we should try everything possible to not get into fiscal emergency," says Martin.

A decision on the recommendation to close Chauncey Elementary is expected at the board's next meeting.

It will take place February 23 at 7 p.m. at Athens High School.