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Richmond, Columbia county schools to prepare for more cuts in state funding

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Schools in Richmond and Columbia counties could be facing even more state funding cuts than initially expected.

Topic: Richmond County Schools
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Topic: Columbia County Schools
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Richmond County school board member Jack Padgett confirmed Wednesday that state and local school officials notified him of the likelihood of an additional $770,000 state funding cut for next fiscal year. Columbia County school officials said their notice showed an unexpected cut of $200,000.

Bert Brantley, a spokesman for Gov. Sonny Perdue, said Wednesday that the cuts aren't set in stone and could be offset if state revenues increase.

Because state revenues were down in April and May, Brantley said the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget recently decided to withhold 10 percent of allotment requests for state agencies for the last week in June. For the state Department of Education, that represented $14.5 million, he said.

Brantley said the state budget office decided to negate the 10 percent reduction to this year's fiscal year budget by using stimulus funds from next fiscal year. Brantley said the hope is that increased state revenue will replace the borrowed stimulus money. If that doesn't happen, cuts could occur by mid-fiscal year or sooner, he said.

"We'll probably look at the first three months of the fiscal year," Brantley said, referring to revenue returns for July, August and September.

"Hopefully, if you want to be an optimist, things will start to turn around."

Brantley said the legislature had approved a budget based on 4 percent revenue growth in the next fiscal year, but April revenues dipped 4.2 percent, or $58 million, and May figures dropped 6 percent, or $75 million.

Padgett said he had anticipated a $4.5 million mid-year cut to Richmond County schools, noting that the $770,000 cut would be in addition to that.

The school system has been working to approve a balanced budget that makes up for more than $20 million in state cuts. The latest budget, up for final approval Monday, calls for eight furlough days but no tax increases.

Padgett said he's unsure whether board members will reconsider a tax increase to the school board's cap, but he said, "I think this will get everybody's attention." Padgett initially backed going to the cap to provide a buffer, but he received no support on the board.

Going to the cap would cost the homeowner of a $125,000 home $3.12 more a month in property tax and would produce about $2 million for the system. The school board also has been told it still has the flexibility of instituting a couple more furlough days for next school year.

Board member Frank Dolan said Wednesday that he's unsure how the additional cut could be accounted for, but he's certain about one thing: "I am absolutely opposed to going to the (tax) cap."

Board member Jimmy Atkins said he's also opposed to a tax increase and is hopeful the school system's administration can find additional areas to cut other than having more furloughs or layoffs.

Board Vice President Alex Howard said he needed time to analyze the situation before saying how the system should respond.

As for Columbia County, officials said Wednesday they would make up the potential cut from the system's $26 million reserve fund. The school board approved this month a $169 million budget. That's about $6 million less than last year, though the system grew by more than 500 students.

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mystery30815
18
Points
mystery30815 06/23/10 - 12:00 pm
0
0
As long as they continue to

As long as they continue to take pay from people, there will be less money going back into the economy. Perhaps if parents had to put money into their childs education they would make it a priority and take it a little bit more serious. It might be time to get creative, rent text books to students, athletic fees for students. You can't keep taking money and time from teachers and expect positive results.

disssman
6
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disssman 06/23/10 - 12:25 pm
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Maybe it is time to quit

Maybe it is time to quit paying teachers 6 figure salaries and benefits, for part time jobs. But what they really should consider is firing all the maintenance people who maintain the hundreds of millions in facilities. Quit limiting class size ( I went to classes as a kid thet had 40 students) and get rid of the people who aren't actually teaching. As a taxpayer I would appreciate a little transparency in the budget also, so I can see who is receiving my hard earned money.

workingmom
0
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workingmom 06/23/10 - 12:35 pm
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Wow, I do not know ANY

Wow, I do not know ANY "teacher" who makes a 6 figure salary; even those who have taught for YEARS. Dissman, when I was in school, we had about 30 children per class but times have changed. Teachers cannot teach the way they are required to teach now with that many students. It is impossible.

mystery30815
18
Points
mystery30815 06/23/10 - 12:36 pm
0
0
There are very few teachers

There are very few teachers who make a six figure salary, administrators, perhaps, teachers hardly. Teachers do not work part time, believe me. Ga has lifted class limit size. I agree, get rid of poor teachers and administrators and there definately should be more transparency in the budget and board policy also. So many "policies" require duplicate and triplicate work that equals $$$. Streamline the administrative process and get it together.

Little Lamb
45321
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Little Lamb 06/23/10 - 12:45 pm
0
0
They could stop providing

They could stop providing transportation during the summer. If you choose summer school, you must provide your own transportation. Also, we learned last week that there is a program where the bus drivers take free lunches to children all around town. That should stop immediately.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 06/23/10 - 12:49 pm
0
0
When the Chronicle ran the

When the Chronicle ran the database detailing teacher pay not too long ago I only looked at a few schools and there were definitely teachers making $100K plus. One was a PE teacher (not athletic director, a teacher).

luckie
2
Points
luckie 06/23/10 - 12:59 pm
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That PE teacher probably has

That PE teacher probably has a PHD, too.

luckie
2
Points
luckie 06/23/10 - 12:59 pm
0
0
That PE teacher probably has

That PE teacher probably has a PHD, too.

Riverman1
82412
Points
Riverman1 06/23/10 - 06:12 pm
0
0
Chillen, I couldn't find that

Chillen, I couldn't find that high of a salary for a teacher. Here is the link.

http://www.open.georgia.gov/sta/viewMain.aud

I fixed the link.

Disbelief2
0
Points
Disbelief2 06/23/10 - 01:11 pm
0
0
Regarding firing everyone in

Regarding firing everyone in Maintenance. I agree with part of that especially for those who either don't come to work and still draw a check or those that slack off most of the time. Those that actually get out there and do their job, why should they be fired? There are a lot of departments including air conditioning guys, plumbing, grounds, athletics, carpentry. So if you get rid of all these people, the county is then going to have to hire outside of help and possibly have to pay more.

dichotomy
32123
Points
dichotomy 06/23/10 - 01:12 pm
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0
Well get used to this. Things

Well get used to this. Things will continue to get worse for several more years before this turns around. And the taxpayers are tapped out. Our officials continue to make stupid statements about property tax raises and property value raises that "only amount to $100 a year" but combined with utilities and everything else that are going up the taxpayers just don't have it. We aren't getting any raises anywhere. Not at work, not on retirements, not on Social Security. You clowns can keep raising property taxes and artificially raising property values as much as you want but be prepared to start auctioning more properties on the courthouse steps. And if I can't sell it for a giveaway price then chances are you won't be able to sell it either. I'm ready to walk away from mine since I can't sell it for what I owe on it so just go ahead and raise them taxes all you want. I've got nothing to lose anymore. You can't sell property in a county with the highest taxes, worst service, and worst schools in the area. You are welcome to come take it anytime. I'll bet I could bring 5 people from south Richmond county up there who are forced to live on a budget themselves and go through the school system's budget in one day and find serveal million bucks to cut. Fire some administration staff, teaching advisors or whatever Bedden called them, close a couple or three under utilized schools and consolidate them, and stop door-to-door bus service. There is a long list of things that our school board has failed to do to reduce costs but it is just easier for them at some point to raise taxes. The commission is guilty of the same thing with their failure to live within OUR means. Do these fools think that their revenue is going down because we all have MORE money to give to them to waste?

oldenoughtoknowbetter
15
Points
oldenoughtoknowbetter 06/23/10 - 01:14 pm
0
0
Since when does having a PHD
Unpublished

Since when does having a PHD to be a PE teacher benefit anybody but the teacher? It doesn't help the student, it doesn't help the school, and it doesn't help the taxpayer. It's just a way to get top pay in their profession.

augusta citizen
9122
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augusta citizen 10/19/12 - 03:26 pm
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..

..

Longtime CSRA resident
1
Points
Longtime CSRA resident 06/23/10 - 01:50 pm
0
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I think we need to look at

I think we need to look at WHERE some of these advanced degrees are coming from, i.e. "diploma mill" institutions where you are basically buying your degree, such as NOVA Southeastern, Cambridge, Argosy, Capella, Lesley, Walden, etc. I don't have a problem paying a teacher for an advanced degree coming from a well-respected state institution such as Augusta State, UGA, Georgia Southern, or similar out-of-state institutions.

cristinadh
6
Points
cristinadh 06/23/10 - 01:46 pm
0
0
As long as they keep cutting

As long as they keep cutting from the teachers, their performance will be less than average and the students will not get the education they need or deserve.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 06/23/10 - 02:26 pm
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0
Riverman, that is not the

Riverman, that is not the same link that the AC posted, I can't find theirs anymore but there were definitely $100K positions. For 9 months of employment that is $11,111 per month. I was appalled & nauseated when I saw it.

Imagine the life long pension & benefits. Remember, it's not just the $100,000 per year salary plus benefits that they are getting now. When the person retires at 55 and lives to 85, they get 30 years of $50K + benefits per year for life. With cost of living increases through the years that will probably average out to about $70K+ per year.

Don't get me wrong, I think teachers deserve to be well paid just like the rest of us, many work hard and they teach our kids. But they do only work 9 months a year and it is still just a job.

Work through the Math: 30 years of retirement with average pay & benefit of about $70K per year is $2.1 MILLLION dollars in pension & benefits. MILLION!!!!!!!

That my friends, is unsustainable for the tax payers.

While I'm on the pension soapbox, don't forget, all these people who get pensions also get social security. Yes, they paid in, but if they get that, does the pension need to be so high? Total taxpayer insanity. The county, state & federal governments have all gone mad.

ohcanwesee
20
Points
ohcanwesee 06/23/10 - 02:09 pm
0
0
Everyone is all about waa waa

Everyone is all about waa waa waa pay. The bottom line is our children will be the ones to suffer, they are getting less education!!!! Too much BS is spent on extra curriclar not neccesary junk. And 500,000 dollars to rebuild rotc building? If your child want to be in the service send him to boot camp or let him joined the armed forces. That money could be spent on children's needed education. Reading, Writing, Math, English. We need to teach children to speak correctlly, Library not Liberry. We should just home school, we are sending our children to school to go broke or get harmed with all the violence in school. We took God out of school and it went to Hell in a handbag.

oldenoughtoknowbetter
15
Points
oldenoughtoknowbetter 06/23/10 - 02:30 pm
0
0
The public education system
Unpublished

The public education system needs some serious overhauling. The administration costs are way out of balance with the practicum. I think teachers need to make more for what they do, but the administrators need to make less.

Fiat_Lux
15115
Points
Fiat_Lux 06/23/10 - 02:31 pm
0
0
Cut off the central AC and

Cut off the central AC and use box fans. Kick out kids that refuse to do anything but disrupt their classes. Make the teachers' lives easier if their pay is getting cut.

john.q.publius
0
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john.q.publius 06/23/10 - 02:36 pm
0
0
I only found one teacher in

I only found one teacher in RCBOE whose salary was listed at $100k or better. A few in the 90's, but most of the 90-100K + were administration, as you would expect. And since RCBOE is really heavy on administration, that gets pricey. And, of course, the salary is only part of the package. A teacher making $70k costs about another $5100 in SSI, probably $3500 - $5000 in medical benefits, and whatever they get for pension. So the salary isn't the whole story, especially in administration, where they can really rack up the deferred comp.

Time to find your kids a private school. Or did you think RCBOE would be cutting the curriculum coordinators and feng shui consultants? Nah, baby, it's the teachers that'll go, and probably the good ones first. It's called "brain drain"

resident
483
Points
resident 06/23/10 - 02:35 pm
0
0
I know where schools can save

I know where schools can save lots of money. Lets start since busses,AC and power were mentioned. All of these items can have some serious cost savings and I even went so far to cite examples ans sources to CC and they flatly rejected this. Propane for school busses is about $300 per bus to install, cheaper than Diesel and cleaner and there are plenty of places that sell it locally. Computerize the AC susyems and lock the thermostats in the classrooms. I have seen them set at 50 degrees wasting money. Lets start school in September and not August the historically hottest month in the South. Lets teach renewable energy concepts, Grid attached solar systems are only about $300K for a 100KW power augmentation system. We have no shortage of sunshine and in the summer sell the power back to the utility company. This could be used to teach High school children a skill for the future. Again CC shot me down and did not entertain this suggestion even a little bit. Potential savings is well into the $100 million range if you calcualte this out for very little investment.

scoobynews
3826
Points
scoobynews 06/23/10 - 02:49 pm
0
0
Dichno don't feel bad my

Dichno don't feel bad my house is in CC and for sale at a rock bottom price that is not selling either. I am moving out of one particular area in CC because they are continuing to raise the property taxes each year yet the area has had a recent boom in growth. So why have they raised the taxes? Pure greed. That is what makes the world go around greed of the officals in charge who are trying to bleed the working class until they realize there will be nothing left to get then they will only have those that don't work that have fed off the system for years. I don't know what they are going to do then.

scoobynews
3826
Points
scoobynews 06/23/10 - 02:41 pm
0
0
Chillen what you saw was a

Chillen what you saw was a small minority most teachers don't make 100K salaries. I WISH I brought home over 11K a month. I struggle right along with the rest of you except for one thing. I am usually buying pencils, paper, and other supplies out of my salary for the sorry excuses for parents that don't think they need to provide these items OR they are raising a sorry bunch of kids who think they need every hand out they can get. I went through over 700 pencils in one school year and it could have been more had I not put a cap on it. I had a child who would come into my room with 20s and 10s yet he didn't have a pencil. I mean it is just plain crazy. Kids today are not being taught at home that if you don't need something don't get it. SOMEONE has to pay for it and that is usually me. Don't even get me started on the "free" and "reduced" lunches. OMG talk about a waste. Yep some of these same kids pulling out the big bucks are going through the lines getting free or reduced lunch. Then they are throwing away half the food that is put on their plates. I get back the lunch approval forms at the beginning of the year to hand back and I can't begin to tell you have many of them live in neighborhoods with 200K houses. I sure as heck don't live in one of those neighborhoods. The system is flawed and until parents start picking up the tab for their kids education in some capacity then we are going to continue to have these problems.

scoobynews
3826
Points
scoobynews 06/23/10 - 02:55 pm
0
0
Chill since you obviously

Chill since you obviously don't have any kind of retirement plan how about doing like the rest of us and get one. There are plenty of options available to you. I currently pay in about $300 a month on mine along with whatever my employer contributes. You can do the same thing so stop whining about it and instead of looking up salaries look up a retirement plan you can pay into like the rest of us.

scoobynews
3826
Points
scoobynews 06/23/10 - 03:01 pm
0
0
Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 06/23/10 - 03:07 pm
0
0
Scooby. I do have my own

Scooby. I do have my own PERSONALLY funded retirement program, thank you very much. I, unlike government employees, have to put thousands in it every month so that I can have something to live on when I retire. I do plan to be completely set up in retirement on my own accord, not by having the taxpayers fund my liberal pension & retirement.

I'm simply saying that government pensions are unsustainable and that there are teachers (& govt employees) out there who are way overpaid. And that is a FACT, like it or not. Most American's agree (unless you work for the government).

Speaking of whining......everyone has parts of their job that suck. Stop complaining. The teachers I know say that there are difficult parts to their job but that pales in comparison to the fact that it is the easiest job they can imagine & the summers off are fantastic.

I guess it's all a matter of glass half empty or half full.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 06/23/10 - 03:17 pm
0
0
Excellent suggestions by the

Excellent suggestions by the way resident. Esp. selling power back to GA power - they could make money all summer long.

I'm surprised it was poo-poo'd by CC. Good old boys don't want to change I guess.

scgator
1042
Points
scgator 06/23/10 - 03:28 pm
0
0
If you want to see what the

If you want to see what the teachers are making; go to the AC database, all of the "real" info is there. Thanks AC for keeping us informed.

scoobynews
3826
Points
scoobynews 06/23/10 - 03:31 pm
0
0
Well I sure wish I was ONE of

Well I sure wish I was ONE of those overpaid educators because I can't wait for next Wednesday to get here. Your problem is you COMPLAIN about the minority of people who do make more money than they are worth while there are respectable and hardworking state workers who don't make hardly enough to live on just like everyone else. I have noticed your comments on almost every education related article and it is always the same thing - teachers make too much money. I could say the same for some dummy running a ball down a football field who makes millions. How about one of those skinny little blonde gals who is belting out a poppy tune on the radio not making a lick of contribution to anyone but themselves? How about the drug dealers? Whoo hoo now their is a fine group. Riding around in their fancy cars and jewels hanging around their necks. They are not strapped for cash either. Go find some other group to "whine" about sometimes.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 06/23/10 - 03:49 pm
0
0
When tax money is seized from

When tax money is seized from me to over-pay the dummy running the ball or the skinny little blonde singing, then I'll complain. For now, they are privately paid and all I can do is not buy their album or not watch them play. That is an apples & oranges comparison.

I don't only pick on teachers, it's government pay, benefits & pensions that I have a problem with. Teachers fall into that category.

I do have to ask, what in the world could a Kindergarten teacher be teaching 5 year olds that warrants $70,000+ per year in annual salary? I'm just asking because using the link Riverman provided I scrolled through just a few pages and found 2 already just in the A & B last names.

Here's a clip from an article that might surprise you.

"The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports what we all expected — state and local government employees make more than private workers. Like $12 per hour more. Looking at the total compensation — wages plus benefits — the average private sector worker makes $27.73 per hour, compared to $39.81 for the average government worker."

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