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Furloughs, higher taxes are options

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Columbia County school officials considered several options Tuesday -- including raising taxes and furloughing teachers -- to make up more than $7.6 million in state and federal budget cuts.

Raising property taxes by 1 mill could produce as much as $3.8 million in added revenue, according to data presented to the school board during a budget meeting.

The same data showed that furloughing teachers might save the school system about $3.5 million, though officials said they are reluctant to consider it after sticking teachers with four furlough days this school year.

"My goal ... was for no furlough days and 180 days of school," Superintendent Charles Nagle said of the 2011-12 budget preparation. "I don't see how we can get that. I never anticipated anything this bad."

It started off much worse.

The proposed $178.8 million budget for next school year initially had an estimated revenue shortfall of more than $16 million. By using about $8.6 million in federal stimulus and building funds held in reserve, school officials were able to cut the shortfall by more than half.

Other options to make up the deficit might include cutting paraprofessional teachers for first and second grades, cutting some school nursing positions, increasing class sizes, eliminating raises for all employees except teachers, and cutting the school calendar five days and making up that class time by extending school hours on other days.

The board made no decision Tuesday and will probably discuss a combination of the options when it meets next Tuesday to take up the budget. Officials hope to give initial approval of the budget May 24.

To make up for previous budget shortfalls, the board already had eliminated more than 100 teaching and paraprofessional positions, raised class sizes and furloughed teachers.

The school system has lost more than $20 million in state funding since 2007, including a $6 million cut in 2010, despite a student population growth of more than 1,600.

Nagle said that equates to about $500 less spent on educating each pupil in the school system.

Last year, expenditures exceeded expected revenues by about $3.5 million, forcing the board to dip into its reserve fund to make up the difference.

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bclicious
728
Points
bclicious 05/11/11 - 12:43 am
0
0
Folks, it's going to happen!

Folks, it's going to happen! We are no longer receiving the same money we once received from the federal government and/or the state. We can no longer sustain ourselves, so get ready. Get ready for teachers having to double their classroom size, taking more furlough days, layoffs, and a lesser quality product.

This is the "Great Recession" and it is what it is!

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 05/11/11 - 01:06 am
0
0
We must cut ALL waste from

We must cut ALL waste from within government to the best of our ability. We should start with removing teachers that really don't teach anymore (and every single school out there has at least one, some have more) and if you don't think so then just go ask the students as they know far more about their schools (middle and high) than others.

Don't just immediately get rid of the young entergetic teachers fresh out of college. It may be time to look at forced retirement where older teachers who have exceeded 30 years cost twice that of a new employee.

Once all waste found can be eliminated all the way down to greatly reducing power bills by shutting of parking lot lights at night and other things of the such (actual studies show this actually may be better for schools so you don't provide light for vandals) and it makes it easier for law enforcement to see criminals) to every other possiblity out there then do your best to raise taxes at a minimum and cut as necessary.

I would also suggest user fees where possible such as those who participate in extracurricular events such as band, choral, all athletics, etc. with mabye waivers for those who can't afford to participate. I also belive they should tripple the parking permit fees as most Atlanta High Schools charge around $150.00 per year as this is a luxury not a necessity and can be used for parking lot needs, school security, and maintenance and landscaping.

We really can't afford to allow our students to fail to learn because we then will be paying more for prisons. Charles Nagle is a great Superintendent and I am sure these are very difficlut decisions to make.

Just My Opinion
5850
Points
Just My Opinion 05/11/11 - 04:56 am
0
0
First off, Charles Nagle is

First off, Charles Nagle is not a great Superintendent, but he's doing the best that he is able to do. Secondly, one area that has NOT been cut is that of higher administrative salaries in the CCBOE office...we have too many Asst. Superintendents and supporting staff. Go to the CCBOE website and check out the number of them in place right now. Those positions are higher paid than the teachers who are in the trenches. Thirdly, it's time to think outside of the box when it comes to revenue for the schools. Other schools have done this so it's possible and profitable....sell advertising space on everything on the school grounds, from lockers to benches! It's a sure way to bring money in to each school. In fact, allow each school to go above and beyond what the CCBOE might be able to arrange for the entire county schools. Oh, and Asitis...your comment on forcing retirement on "older teachers"? You better think that one through pal, because one day YOU will be the older employee who someone is trying to force out!

Tisk tisk what is this world coming to
0
Points
0
0
Ah but Charlie Nagle always

Ah but Charlie Nagle always gets a raise despite what the others get. This will be the third year in a row that support staff does not get any kind of a raise. Some even got deep cuts. I occasionally drive a school late at night and it is lit up inside like school is in session without a car in the parking lot. I bet if I were able to get inside the AC would be on too.

Riverman1
86798
Points
Riverman1 05/11/11 - 07:57 am
0
0
Principals and other

Principals and other administrators in Columbia County are some of the highest paid in the nation, especially if the cost of living is factored in. Check out national surveys if you don't believe me. Their pay is out of line and it's absurd to talk about raising taxes when such a situation exists.

mag5
21
Points
mag5 05/11/11 - 08:26 am
0
0
Why would anyone want to be a

Why would anyone want to be a teacher? Tried to talk my son out of it....told him to just look at what his mother goes through as a prek teacher...

Riverman1
86798
Points
Riverman1 05/11/11 - 09:42 am
0
0
The salaries of

The salaries of administrators at all levels in the Columbia County School System could be cut drastically to get them more in line with the national average with the cost of living factored in and have zero effect on the school system. This bureaucratic, government controlled school system is a means to pay some excessive salaries, pass out jobs and award multimillion dollar contracts. The majority of the county tax revenue goes to Nagle and company.

WMartin
119
Points
WMartin 05/11/11 - 10:26 am
0
0
This is a tipping point. How

This is a tipping point. How we, and other communities, deal with this issue on a local level will determine how our legislators deal with similar issues at the state and federal levels. One cause of the increased school budget not mentioned in the article is the fact that many teachers go back to college to further their own education in order to earn more money - admirable, certainly consistent with the American dream. But, let's remember that teachers are also public servants, living off the hard work, blood, and sweat of the tax payer. Do we need hundreds of teachers with Masters degrees and other education specialty degrees? Do we really think that this kind of "over-kill" on degrees is going to directly result in higher standardized test scores, graduation rates, and Columbia County kids going to college and beyond? Many private school and home-schooled kids excel beyond the performance of our public school kids without the "advantage" of a teacher with another degree. We can't keep taxing hard working people without asking the recipients of those tax dollars to contribute more to their own benefits - health, life, disability insurance, retirement plans. Why should I have to contribute 100% to my own retirement plan and insurance - and then have the local government take more of my money to give to someone else for their retirement plan and insurance?

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 05/11/11 - 10:41 am
0
0
"The salaries of

"The salaries of administrators at all levels in the Columbia County School System could be cut drastically to get them more in line with the national average with the cost of living factored in and have zero effect on the school system. This bureaucratic, government controlled school system is a means to pay some excessive salaries, pass out jobs and award multimillion dollar contracts. The majority of the county tax revenue goes to Nagle and company."

Hear! Hear! RM. I noticed there was little talk of cutting administrative positions beyond nurses. THAT is where your bloat is; there are several multiples of administrators/student than there were when I was in school in the 60's.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 05/11/11 - 11:54 am
0
0
I just love the

I just love the administrations way of trying to upset teachers and parents. This is straight out of the playbook they are using nationally. Threaten cuts to students, teachers, programs, etc. to get the parents in an uproar.

Instead of doing this, make the cuts in administration. There are plenty to be made - you have added several high level positions in just the last year. Cut some secretaries - answer your own darn phone!

Stop building new administration buildings! No new stadium for Lakeside! Stop putting stacked stone of the outside of the schools! This is ridiculous! You WASTE our money and then make noise about raising our taxes.....but....it's for the poor, poor pitiful kids.

Shameful.

Scottskart
13
Points
Scottskart 05/11/11 - 12:07 pm
0
0
It is a sad day in America

It is a sad day in America when we have to furlough the people who are the base, backbone, and foundation of our nation. Between, law enforcement, teachers and the military - - - they should be the LAST to be cut. This is crazy, I agree the higher administration working in the BOE office (all the MANY assistant superintendents they have) should be the first to go. Has anyone really looked into just how many there are? What about all the Assistant Prinicipals? There are so many other ways to help the budget.

I pray for our country every day. The men and women who serve us ~ whether it is in education, public safety, or the armed forces; need our support.....

lhsparent11
59
Points
lhsparent11 05/11/11 - 12:17 pm
0
0
Okay, it seems most of us

Okay, it seems most of us understand that the cutting needs to be made at the Administrative level, so now how do we help make that happen? The offices on Hereford Farm Road are too full of overpaid positions that could be eliminated to save thousands of dollars! Start there!

729
Points
Barry Paschal 05/11/11 - 12:28 pm
0
0
FYI: Central office

FYI: Central office administration in Georgia public schools typically runs around 5-7 percent of overall budget. Because of a series of central office cuts in the past few years, Columbia County's central office budget is less than 2 percent of the total school budget.

hanktry30281
0
Points
hanktry30281 05/11/11 - 01:13 pm
0
0
I'm quite tired of the

I'm quite tired of the complaints that government and administration and teachers are the problem here. Revenues fall during recessions due to decreased sales, incomes, and property values. If you want some of the best schools in the state to remain the same, there comes a time when one must pay for it. That means reasonable increases in taxes. I pay quite a bit where I live in taxes every year to the BOE and I'm a single guy with no kids. I value public education and don't fown when there's a need to increase taxes in a reasonable fashion. I want all children to become good citizens, and taxes are part of that responsibility.

12barblues
238
Points
12barblues 05/11/11 - 01:43 pm
0
0
Good to know Barry. As usual

Good to know Barry. As usual the majority of the people who post here are misinformed.

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 05/11/11 - 01:44 pm
0
0
Barry, thanks for the update

Barry, thanks for the update as I was trying to obtain that information and knew it was below 5%. Frankly, I believe our school system is doing a good job but as in any system or even some businesses, there is waste. If you want to know how to save money in the kitchen, go ask the cooks. If you want to know how to save money in the facilities go and talk with the custodians and maintenance people. If you want to know of the wasted electricity at night, speak with the public safety officers and if you want to know what teachers/administrators are considered "do nothing employees" who are out the door before the students are each day simply ask the students, believe me, they know.

JustMyOpinion, I certainly understand your point on the older teachers. However, I was simply saying that those who have past retirement cost far more than new entergetic teachers with bright new ideas and the latest teaching tools. Many of the older teachers are simply staying to boost retirement and have earned every degree possible to get every raise possible. In times of shortages, I would rather have 2 new entergetic freshly prepared teachers than 1 teacher with over 30 years of experience. While you need both, the administratiors know of plenty that need to go and should help to ensure that transistion.

Donnie Fetter
3
Points
Donnie Fetter 05/11/11 - 02:42 pm
0
0
Chillen: The construction

Chillen: The construction projects you are referring to are paid using the 1-percent sales tax. Money for the general fund comes from local property taxes as well as state and federal sources. SPLOST many cannot legally be used to supplement the general fund.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 05/11/11 - 04:05 pm
0
0
Yes yes, the money is ALWAYS

Yes yes, the money is ALWAYS from a different budget, always in a different place, legally can be used here and legally can't be used there......blah blah blah. There's always some reason for not making the cuts and them taxing the living crap out of us.

I say a budget is a budget. If you are given $1 million. Make it happen within that. Don't say I get to spend $800,000 here and $400,000 there and then $200,000 there because it's all from a different place. That is more than $1 million.

Our government is so stupid. A company could never be run the way they do things. That's why as a whole, government is failing the American citizens. Yes, including our beloved CC school system who wants to tax us more. In a recession. The nerve of them. And the nerve of some on the Chronicle Staff who seem to applaud & support the increase in taxes. You know who you are.

Riverman1
86798
Points
Riverman1 05/11/11 - 04:05 pm
0
0
Principals and assistant

Principals and assistant principals in Columbia County are paid way over the national average. I'd cut their salaries tremendously in addition to the amount Nagle and assistant district adminstrators are paid. I'm not saying there are too many of them, but they are overpaid. The majority of the people here do understand the pay scale is top heavy.

Just My Opinion
5850
Points
Just My Opinion 05/11/11 - 04:08 pm
0
0
Asitis, I see your

Asitis, I see your point..although I don't necessarily agree with it..about replacing older teachers who are knocking on retirement's door with new and "cheaper" teachers. One point you are missing is that the older teachers who have gone back to receive "every degree possible" have done so because they are rewarded by the county who WANTS their teachers to further their education, and in so doing, learn those same "latest teaching tools" that the younger teachers know.
Now, as far as the information Barry Paschal gave us, doesn't 2% of the total budget STILL seem too high when you're talking about the relatively smaller number (as compared to other CCBOE employees) that exist at the admin office?? There are positions there that can certainly be combined or eliminated. When they are wanting classroom teachers to teach a higher number of students (including those who are mainstreamed), obtain mandated continuing ed, perform all the other tasks that are expected from a teacher, AND THEN expect them to empty the classroom's trashcans, clean the classroom's bathroom, sweep or mop the classroom's floors, you don't think the admin at the CCBOE office can answer their own phones, type their own letters, or do a half of someone else's job that is overlapping theirs?? Nagle will protect his people...and by "his people", I mean the folks that work with him at the CCBOE office...some of those that he appointed/promoted. Now, to be fair, I will admit and concede that his job to adjust the budget is a very hard and thankless one..one that needs to be done. But, it's time to show the teachers and the other CCBOE employees that he is being fair about it. And to the person who mentioned something about Nagle getting regular raises, I sure hope that isn't true, because if it is, I've lost all respect for the man.

Riverman1
86798
Points
Riverman1 05/11/11 - 04:13 pm
0
0
Some senior teachers are

Some senior teachers are making upwards of $70,000. Principals 6 figures. Assistant principals get a $10,000 raise. These salaries are out of line compared to the rank and file teachers and national averages.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 05/11/11 - 04:16 pm
0
0
Bottom line. Revenue is down

Bottom line. Revenue is down for various reasons. Make the spending cuts. Stop spending extravagently in one department and "justifying" it because it's a different budget.

Private businesses have been cutting staff, benefits, salaries, etc since late 2008. Why should our administration & govt be any different or more special? Welcome to the new normal.

And don't tax us more in a recession. That is totally outrageous. Our homes have already lost 10-20% or more in value. The small perk from that is lower property taxes. Why take that from us too?

Riverman1
86798
Points
Riverman1 05/11/11 - 05:17 pm
0
0
Okay, I looked up the

Okay, I looked up the salaries. Columbia County HS principals are making over $100,000 while principals of lower schools are making over $90 thousand. Here is the link to finding out the salaries. There are Columbia County teachers making over $70,000.

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

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 05/11/11 - 05:30 pm
0
0
Imagine the pensions those

Imagine the pensions those folks will get. For the rest of their lives! Retiring in their 50's too. The rest of us have to work just about until we die (so we can pay for that).

Riverman1
86798
Points
Riverman1 05/11/11 - 06:22 pm
0
0
Keep in mind, the lost cost

Keep in mind, the lost cost of living in Georgia means salaries go much further. When the cost of living is factored in Georgia teachers' pay is judged as the 3rd highest in the NATION although the income average in the state is low. Take it more and realize the Columbia County positions are much sought after.

People want to work for our education system because of the demographics of the students and families. Go to any website with average salaries and check on salaries for principals and assistant principals.

Again, our salaries for administrators are excessive. I don't know how the BOE can justify this expenditure when there are many applicants for administrative and teaching positions in our great county.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 05/11/11 - 06:23 pm
0
0
If we got all the CSRA's

If we got all the CSRA's money that was misappropriated back into the treasury we'd have plenty of money, some form of accountability, AND local government's 1 billion in assets.

Just My Opinion
5850
Points
Just My Opinion 05/11/11 - 07:29 pm
0
0
I'm curious, what do you

I'm curious, what do you folks think about the idea I posted earlier for bringing in money for the school system and for each school? I suggested something I saw awhile back about selling advertising space at each school. Think about it...we already do that in the gymnasiums (on the walls) and football/baseball stadiums (on the fences). Why not extend that to INSIDE the buildings? Plaster ads on the lockers and walls of the hallways. On benches. On the busses. In the cafeteria. On the trashcans. Bookcovers. I mean, why not? I think that, eventually, the kids would pretty much ignore the ads because they see them everyday. But that never stops the advertisers, does it? Good idea or not...and why?

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 05/11/11 - 08:30 pm
0
0
Just; Great idea. Maybe with

Just; Great idea. Maybe with the real world being allowed back into the public schools tax users have turned into evolution religion churches they will start to teach facts instead of monkey man fairytails, again. Hey we can dream can't we? ha ahaha

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 05/11/11 - 08:53 pm
0
0
For those of you who think

For those of you who think teachers are living off your sweat and blood here is a simple phrase for you - you get what you pay for. If you want your child to get the best quality education then you want the most highly qualified teacher in their classroom. If you want a warm body in your kids class then go to under achieving counties and poor rural areas because it will be the luck of the draw if your kid gets a qualified teacher or not. The attitudes of all of you is exactly why people who are gifted in math and science don't even give a career in education a second glance. They know they will be wasting their time and talent because it is one of the lowest paying professions out of all the others they have offtered to them. The teachers I know are hard working people with families to support just like you.

Tisk tisk what is this world coming to
0
Points
0
0
OK Barry. Since your wife is

OK Barry. Since your wife is a high paid principal I think you have an agenda in your comment.

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