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Bedden presents most feasible budget options

3 days will be shaved from county's calendar

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Six to eight furlough days, 35 teacher cuts through attrition and perhaps a small tax increase.

Those were options presented to the Richmond County school board Monday as ways to balance a school budget for next fiscal year, which faces a $16.7 million revenue shortfall as state funding continues to dwindle.

The first option spelled out by Superintendent Dana Bedden on Monday was to consider eight furlough days next school year, to cut about $1 million in costs other than salaries and benefits and to eliminate 35 teaching positions.

"We're hoping to do that (the teacher cuts) through attrition," Bedden told the board, referring to those who will retire after this school year.

His second option would be to have six furlough days for workers, reduce the same number of teachers through attrition, have the $1 million in other cuts and set the school board's portion of property taxes at the cap, which would raise that rate by nearly two mills, or about $27 more a year on a $100,000 house, school officials said.

Going to the tax cap would produce an extra $2.1 million for the school district. Bedden told the board that doing so would provide them a buffer should more state cuts come midyear.

"I'd be surprised if the state doesn't come back around and hit you midyear," he said.

Bedden also presented an option that would have three instead of eight "change in work schedule days" for bus drivers, bus monitors and paraprofessionals, noting that they are among the lowest-paid employees and "could not get equal time consideration during last year's change in work schedule." Such a change, he said, would cost the district about $265,000.

After the meeting, board member Jack Padgett said he's anticipating about $2 million more in state cuts midyear. Based on the latest budget passed by the legislature last week, the district is eyeing about $17 million in state cuts for next school year.

Padgett said he would prefer an approach that combines the two options presented Monday: going to the tax cap and having eight furlough days that could be reduced to six if conditions improve.

Whether next year's school calendar in Richmond County has six or eight furlough days, one thing is certain: The traditional 180-day school calendar will be reduced to 177 because three of the furlough days would be on normal instructional days. The rest of the furloughs would involve professional learning days.

"We put in a waiver (with the state) to convert to hours," Bedden said of a state law that allows fewer than the required 180 school days if the system meets the equivalent in hours.

Under the option for eight furlough days, classes would be out next school year on Aug. 3; Oct. 20; Nov. 22 and 23, thereby extending the Thanksgiving break to a full week; Feb. 21 and 22; March 16; and May 25. With six furlough days, workers would not be off on March 16 and May 25.

School board members took no action but said they would further consider the options at 5 p.m. on May 18.

Board member Frank Dolan told the staff he appreciated their getting a balanced budget to the board early.

"These things are hard," he said. "There's a lot of hand-wringing. There's no good answer in these tough times."

PROPOSED RICHMOND SCHOOL BUDGET
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Ga Values
27
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Ga Values 05/04/10 - 06:35 am
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When are there going to be

When are there going to be serious staff reductions in the bloated central office?

cristinadh
6
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cristinadh 05/04/10 - 06:49 am
0
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When they start listening to

When they start listening to us!!

Little Lamb
46343
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Little Lamb 05/04/10 - 07:51 am
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Okay, I know there are

Okay, I know there are several teachers who read the online Chronicle. You might think about organizing and letting the chain of command know that you expect your furlough days to be actual days off from work. The concept of having your furlough days be “early releases” is stupid from an economic standpoint, since the buses have to run, the cafeterias have to operate, the lights and HVAC have to burn. And that's not to mention all the fuel wasted from individual cars bringing staff and children to school for the half-day sessions.

Half-day sessions are cruel. If you must take a furlough day — insist you get a whole day off.

Up above, the article says they are thinking about six to eight furlough days for teachers next school year. That would mean twelve to sixteen days messed up with half-day sessions.

juantez
235
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juantez 05/04/10 - 08:30 am
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Here they go again trying to
Unpublished

Here they go again trying to use the home owners as they personal bank for the school system...They need to cut that bloated central office?(Ga Values).

ConsiderThis
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ConsiderThis 05/04/10 - 08:57 am
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The budget presentation is on

The budget presentation is on the RCSS website. Info on central office cuts, calendar for furlough days (full days), and choices for Board members (with and without tax increases). It also provides info on the education challenges (cuts) nationally and in Georgia.

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 05/04/10 - 10:14 am
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Who says that the central

Who says that the central office is "bloated"? According to data from the Governor's Office of Student Achievement, Richmond County's central office staff is the smallest in the area and among the smallest in the state proportionally.

sensible
0
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sensible 05/04/10 - 10:31 am
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Why is common sense not

Why is common sense not applied to these decisions? Why was National Hills Elementary (an old school) allowed to remain in use, when a new school (Garrett) is being build a few blocks ago. Why not combine the two small schools? Why use tax payers money to renovate National Hills School when the two could be combined thus saving money? Save on upkeep, overhead, etc. Get politics and appeasing certain parties out of the decisioning making process when common sense should be used.

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 05/04/10 - 10:33 am
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Sensible, those projects are

Sensible, those projects are paid for by sales tax revenue. The projects were approved by voters, so the board has no choice but to follow through with them. I agree with you, and that's why I voted against the SPLOST.

corgimom
33146
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corgimom 05/04/10 - 11:05 am
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"Why was National Hills

"Why was National Hills Elementary (an old school) allowed to remain in use, when a new school (Garrett) is being build a few blocks ago. "

Because the parents of NHES begged and pleaded, and the RCBOE tries to please everyone and pleases no one.

cleanup
0
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cleanup 05/04/10 - 11:15 am
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Bedden has lied from day one

Bedden has lied from day one about central office. He has always claimed that it is not bloated. He's a liar.

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 05/04/10 - 11:59 am
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Cleanup, you can continue

Cleanup, you can continue calling me names, and I will continue citing official state statistics.
You would be more convincing if you could prove your allegations.

lylagirl
1
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lylagirl 05/04/10 - 02:27 pm
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Come on insider info...don't

Come on insider info...don't wear your feelings on your shoulders where everybody can see....have a thicker skin than that..please!!!!

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 05/04/10 - 03:05 pm
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lyla, I try not to reduce my

lyla, I try not to reduce my posts to mere ad hominem personal attacks. I'm not offended. It's just disappointing when people can't make a point without stooping to playground tactics.

lylagirl
1
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lylagirl 05/04/10 - 03:14 pm
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You know that is the way of

You know that is the way of the world....Insider...all anyone can do is hold true to self and know that whatever decision is made with RCSS should be for betterment of the children...after all that is all that matters...food for thought for us all!!!!

Ga Values
27
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Ga Values 05/04/10 - 04:34 pm
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Insider InformationTuesday,

Insider InformationTuesday, May 4 10:14 AM

please provide a link

Ga Values
27
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Ga Values 05/04/10 - 06:32 pm
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looks like the central office

looks like the central office must get off at 4:00.

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 05/04/10 - 10:01 pm
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0
kobeistheman
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kobeistheman 05/04/10 - 10:22 pm
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DR. FURLOUGH STRIKES

DR. FURLOUGH STRIKES AGAIN...HE ALLOWS INTERVENTION SPECIALISTS, INSTRUCTIONAL COACHES AND GRAD COACHES TO MAKE MONEY IN POSITIONS NOT NEEDED. HE TAKES A 230,000 A YEAR JOB BUT HAS THE AUDACITY TO SUGGEST CUTS FOR TEACHERS HE WONT AND HAS NEVER ANSWERED TO. WHAT ABOUT THESE SO-CALLED TEACHERS ON SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT. WOW THEY GIVE SUGGESTIONS- GREAT WORK. HOW BOUT HAVIN ALL THE FACTS FIRST, SIR DRE, B4 RUNNING YOUR MOUTH. MY ABILITY AND MY AWARDS MAKES YOU DIZZY. INSTRUCTIONAL COACHES- MANY ARE NOT WANTED OR NEEDED AND MOST TEACHERS KNOW A CLASS ALOT BETTER THAN THE IC'S. GET RID OF THE BLOATED POSITIONS AND PUT THESE PPL IN A CLASS AT TEACHER PAY OR CUT EM LOOSE. HEY BEDDEN HOW BOUT AN EYE HUG-WORKS FOR THE GANG BANGERS RIGHT?

Cadence
219
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Cadence 05/04/10 - 11:13 pm
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Surely there are other areas

Surely there are other areas to cut besides teachers.

lifelongresidient
0
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lifelongresidient 05/05/10 - 08:21 am
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cadence, yeah there is how

cadence, yeah there is how about cutting all extra-curricular activities, that is the only area that hasn't been mentioned in any type of cuts or reductions or how about closing some of the too many high schools???. get ready property owners you will soon be hearing the schreech of ms. venus cain as she claims a tax increase is "for the children"

sensible
0
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sensible 05/05/10 - 11:10 am
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corgimon, RCBOE trying to

corgimon, RCBOE trying to please everyone along with the other powers in Augusta trying to please everyone is what keeps Augusta and its school as well as other systems where they are. No one seems to be able to make purely "business" decisions. The education of our children is important and decisions should not be made on a please everyone basis. They should be made on whats best for the children's education and far too much money is wasted in this area. Keeping an old school open just because a small community wants "their" little school is unforgiveable in these economic times. Also, hiring someone to oversee the present teachers is not the answer. If they can't do their job without someone overseeing them, fire them and get some teachers who can. Why should money designated for our children's education be spent on someone overseeing incompetence? We have some great teachers in Richmond County but we also have some who needed to go a long time ago. Someone needs to step up to the plate and deal with that issue also.

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