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      School budget cuts become a reality

      There could be as much as 4,000 job losses across the state's 85 school districts.

      The 2009-2010 school year is almost in the books; unfortunately though it seems history is repeating itself.

      According to officials, budget cuts will cause 4,000 positions to be eliminated throughout the state TMs 85 districts. That number comes on top of the more than 2,200 job losses this year.

      Here we have teachers that in some cases are going to have larger class sizes because of the cuts in the school districts with less support from the state at the same level, said State Superintendent Jim Rex.

      Rex announced Thursday the South Carolina Education Department is laying off 80 employees.

      As much as we would like to play the political blame game, we can TMt afford to do that right now, says Kelly Payne. It TMs very real that there are severe budget shortfalls and ultimately it TMs impacting the classroom.

      Payne is a teacher at Dutch Fork High School and a candidate for State Superintendent. She says the system which funds education is flawed, and others share her concerns.

      The problem is the same people that are spending the money are designing and implementing their own reporting mechanisms, said Neil Mellen of the South Carolinians for Responsible Government.

      Mellen believes that problems lie not only in the accounting for school funding, but governance of dollars that has resulted in the loss of the thousands of jobs.

      There could be some good that could from it in terms of efficiency, but right now it TMs sort of a blunt instrument approach to cutting the budget, said Rex.

      In addition to Kelly Payne, there are four other GOP candidates running for superintendent: Mick Zais, Brent Nelsen, Gary Burgess, and Elizabeth Moffly.

      Two democrats are also vying for the seat: Frank Holleman and Tom Thompson.