Education

More News | |

Columbia County schools look to close $10 million budget gap

Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012 7:17 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 4:51 AM
  • Follow Education

Larger class sizes with fewer teachers and aides will be the likely result of Columbia County school system efforts to fill a $10 million budget gap for next year.

At a school board budget study session Tuesday, Superintendent Charles Nagle spelled out options for meeting the anticipated shortfall.

“We’ve got a budget tight as a tick at $175 million” for 2012-13, Nagle said, noting that the amount represents per-pupil expenditures more than $1,100 below the state average.

“We’re getting the best bang for the buck, and we’re a high-achieving school system,” he added.

To make up for next year’s expected shortfall — the result of a combination of stagnant state funding and higher student enrollment — Nagle said savings from the current year will bridge up to $4 million of the gap, with $2 million more if the county’s tax digest grows by 3 percent as expected.

The system then could gain nearly $3 million by cutting as many as 21 teachers and 62 paraprofessionals, Nagle said. All of those positions would be eliminated through attrition.

The teaching positions would come from slight increases in class sizes throughout the system, allowing classes with up to three students more than the state recommended number. Paraprofessionals, who largely are funded locally rather than through the state, would be reduced to one for every three teachers in elementary schools, trimming the number from 195 in the system to 133.

Other possible options include employee furloughs for a savings of roughly $700,000 per day, cuts to school supplements and reductions in the numbers of other employees, including assistant principals, counselors and nurses.

“The money’s got to come from somewhere unless you raise taxes,” Nagle said.

Board members will get a formal proposal on the budget at their first meeting in February.

Comments (14) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 01/25/12 - 03:02 am
0
0
Mr. Nagle is a great man

Mr. Nagle is a great man doing an excellent job in a tough economy.

Augusta Chronicle: What is the cost per pupil for Columbia County and Richmond County pupils as well as the graduation rates for last year?

nothin2show4it
120
Points
nothin2show4it 01/25/12 - 05:02 am
0
0
Why is Columbia Country
Unpublished

Why is Columbia Country Schools getting more than $1,100.00 less per student than the state average?

Little Lamb
47857
Points
Little Lamb 01/25/12 - 07:46 am
0
0
Why, you ask? Well, that's

Why, you ask? Well, that's the formula. You do not want to send state money to successful school systems, but rather to the unsuccessful. You need to bring the successful down to the level of the unsuccessful to make this more level playing field that the president was talking about last night.

seenitB4
93454
Points
seenitB4 01/25/12 - 07:58 am
0
0
llamb said You need to bring

llamb said

You need to bring the successful down to the level of the unsuccessful to make this more level playing field that the president was talking about last night.

Exactly LL.....also bring down successful neighborhoods to the lower level.....more level playing field......OUCH!!...That is exactly what is bringing our country down to its knees...
We can't make everything equal....so some need to get OVER IT!

onlysane1left
222
Points
onlysane1left 01/25/12 - 08:26 am
0
0
Why are people not mad as

Why are people not mad as hell about this as they were about the low income housing coming to CC? This is a much more important issue to be upset about, and not take lightly. Cutting teachers when education is as bad as it has ever been is absurd. Goes to show you where the proirities in Columiba County are.........

Little Lamb
47857
Points
Little Lamb 01/25/12 - 08:41 am
0
0
Cutting teachers looks like a

Cutting teachers looks like a good idea to me.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 01/25/12 - 10:18 am
0
0
Why don't they cut admin

Why don't they cut admin staff instead? Lots of directors, assistant director types, personal secretaries, etc.

School systems are going to have to get creative.

For example, why does every system need a nutritionist? Hire 1 and share the expense between 5 or 6 school systems. Even better, hire one of the state and share the expense between ALL school systems. Lunch is lunch folks.

They might end up having to cancel the bus program. If people birth the kids, they should be responsible for getting them to school. Why should tax payers pay for it?! This would save countless millions.

Look at a 1940's school. You know when America was still educating our kids properly and schools were great. Use them as a model. They probably spent 50% less than we do today (even if you adjust for inflation).

Do not raise our taxes. You just did it. We can't afford it. The crap's hitting the fan outside the government bubble world.

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 01/25/12 - 12:29 pm
0
0
Nothin and LL, I believe you

Nothin and LL, I believe you misunderstood Nagle's statement. The state provides the same amount per pupil in CC as other districts with a few exceptions, grants, awards, etc.

It was simply pointed out that the Columbia Count School System spends (from all revenues) $1,100.00 less per pupil than the average school system spends in the state of Georgia. That is why I would like the Chronicle to post what RC spends per pupil compared to CC per pupil because you will easily see graduations rates are not representative of how much money you spend per pupil. It does not always take "more money" as so many tend to think.

As for nutritionists and other positions Chillen, the way our Federal Government works, they issue many requirements in order to accept federal dollars. If you don't hire those positions or meet certain guidelines yearly, you are not eligible for federal dollars. I do 100% agree with you though that certain positions such as that could be reviewed, out-sourced, etc. but I would be willing to bet that with the funds for free / reduced lunch, the paperwork and guidelines from the feds are enormous.

As for CC being over staffed administratively, that is very far from the case - an article last year reviewed CC compared to RC and other school systems. CC has done an excellent job in keeping administrative expenses a very low % of the budget compared to most all other school systems and much lower than the state average.

CC has a great school system, is keeping costs down as much as possible and has great scores from their students as well as excellent graduation rates.

Riverman1
90264
Points
Riverman1 01/25/12 - 12:48 pm
0
0
First off, it's well known

First off, it's well known the school districts that spend the most per pupil have the worst results. Now, let's get into things a bit more significant. Economic upheavals such as we are having are times when fiscal policies are changed as well as political philosophies and personalities. Columbia County spends far too much for principal and assistant principal salaries in addition to teacher salaries. We have the third highest paid educators in the nation in Columbia County although we have teacher and principal applications for jobs stacked up although no one wants to admit it. That’s a disconnect that has to correct with this economic reality setting in.

MrC
0
Points
MrC 01/25/12 - 07:37 pm
0
0
I would like to see that

I would like to see that somewhere Riverman...CC doesn't even have the 3rd highest paid educators in Georgia.

Riverman1
90264
Points
Riverman1 01/25/12 - 08:02 pm
0
0
MrC, 12th highest by actual

MrC, 12th highest by actual numbers, 3rd highest when cost of living is factored in.

Riverman1
90264
Points
Riverman1 01/25/12 - 08:07 pm
0
0
Riverman1
90264
Points
Riverman1 01/25/12 - 08:09 pm
0
0
By the way, SC is 24th.

By the way, SC is 24th.

Riverman1
90264
Points
Riverman1 01/25/12 - 08:45 pm
0
0
I will say this, however,

I will say this, however, Columbia County is not in the top ten counties in GA for pay. I don't have the full list, but most of them are up around Atlanta.

luckypuppy
0
Points
luckypuppy 02/02/12 - 09:55 am
0
0
I do not think the BOE

I do not think the BOE realizes what it will mean if they do away with paras on the lower grades. The children will suffer, the teachers will suffer and ultimately, grades will suffer. Paras teach those children one-on-one who need the help and those teachers don't have the time to do that just thnk with the larger numbers in the class now. Paras teach a lot more than parents know. They help children who have troble in math and reading, pulling them out individually each day to help in small groups or one-on-one for those that are struggling. How is the teacher going to do this next year- ah- she is not. I should think with the money this county has, cutting back or using SPLOST money would be a much better idea than taking our children's education away. People moe to Columbia County for the education, we build more an more schools for that purpose, well, now you may as well stop building, because people will start moving away and the county will be left with all old people. No one will want to move to a county with bad test scores. Is is with it? Think about it before you make that vote and reaccess where you can cut your budget- maybe higher up the ladder?? Do we really nee all those vice principle in the middle and high schools? All those school counselors? All those athletic programs? Think again.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Turkeys taste own medicine

I got up and out of my sickbed so I could write this column because it’s time for the annual Turkey of the Year awards, the highlight of the holiday season.
Search Augusta jobs