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April 2--  Students in Montgomery County will go to school fewer days next year, but the school days will be about a half-hour longer.

With the exception of board member Terry Outler, the Montgomery school board voted Monday night to approve a calender which amounts to 13 fewer days of school.  It's 160 days for students and 168 for teachers.  This year students are in class 173 days and teachers work 181 days.

Outler voted against the change because he thinks it's unfair to some school system employees. It cuts the pay of employees like school bus drivers and lunchroom workers.

School Superintendent Randy Rodgers says the calender is like the one being used by the Toombs County school system and allows Montgomery students enrolled in the Southeast Early College and Career Academy to attend the same classes with Toombs County students.

Meanwhile, Rodgers reports recent decisions by the legislature on equalization funding and declining enrollment in Montgomery County amounts to a $160,000 hit to the school system's budget.

"The equalization formula was redistributed with the counties of Gwinnett, Paulding and Clayton receiviing the great majority of equalization funding.  We're expecting about $120,000 less than we received this year plus about $40,000 less due to decreasing enrollment.  We've got to find areas from which to take those amounts," Rodgers says.

Montgomery County is also undergoing a property tax revaluation and the superintendent foresees an increase in the tax rate just to bring in the same amount of revenue as this year.

"We do not anticipate, at this point, increasing our revenue.  Depending on what the revaluation does, it will more than likely effect the number of mils it will take to generate the same amount of money," Rodgers believes.

The school board also approved spending $285,200 in sales tax revenue for facilities improvements this summer, approved accepting a $1,000 college scholarship in the name of Reverend Robert J. Conner and okayed the retirements of two teachers, a librarian and a para-professional.