40 educators, 70 teacher aides would be cut under plan granted preliminary approval by Columbia County school board

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 8:10 PM
Last updated Wednesday, March 14, 2012 10:53 AM
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The Columbia County school board granted preliminary approval Tuesday to a plan to cut more than 40 educator positions and nearly 70 teacher aides for next school year.

Schools chief Charles Nagle said the cuts could save the system $4.5 million.
Schools chief Charles Nagle said the cuts could save the system $4.5 million.

The cuts will come up for final approval at the next board meeting, scheduled for March 27. The preliminary vote Tuesday was unanimous.

The educator cuts represent just a fraction of the school system’s more than 1,600 teachers, counselors and administrators.

If the plan is approved at the next meeting, however, more than one-third of the teacher aides, also called paraprofessionals, would be eliminated. Just 131 paraprofessionals would remain next school year to assist teachers in elementary grades.

The cuts would save the cash-strapped school system nearly $4.5 million in personnel costs, Superintendent Charles Nagle said.

The school system is facing a $13 million cut in state funding for the 2012-13 school year.

Nagle said during a January budget meeting that $4 million in savings from the current school year should help bridge the gap and that he hopes growth in the county’s tax digest might make up an additional $2 million to cover the system’s nearly $175 million budget.

Although school officials expect the population to grow by nearly 390 pupils next year, increased class sizes should offset that growth and allow for the teacher cuts.

Paraprofessionals primarily are funded with local tax money, rather than by the state, meaning their elimination would save more local money, even though their salaries are not as high as those of teachers.

Teacher aides in Columbia County make an average of $16,000 each year, but the school system must pay an additional $6,000 next year in state-mandated benefits for each one.

Nagle said that he hopes to handle any personnel cuts through attrition but that layoffs might be necessary.

“This is a hard cut for me and hard cut for you,” Nagle told the board.

Columbia County, he said, is one of the few school systems in Georgia to employ teacher aides beyond the kindergarten level.

“We’re one of the last hold-ons,” Nagle said, referring to paraprofessionals in higher grades. “We’re slipping off the edge.”

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GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 03/13/12 - 08:19 pm
0
0
We would have money for our
Unpublished

We would have money for our teachers and aides if we stopped giving it to freeloaders who do nothing more than produce more children going into the already struggling school system!!! We need out teachers and aides....we don't need more freeloaders or to keep giving the ones we already have pay raises!!! Do your cutting where it should be, gov't hand outs!!! We (taxpayers) have to pay for their kids to be raised and schooled and at the same time because of having to support so many leeches who just can't stop breeding, our own kids suffer. Sickening!!!

Riverman1
94505
Points
Riverman1 03/13/12 - 08:33 pm
1
0
Start running the Columbia

Start running the Columbia County School System like it's a business and not a union with the workers threatening to run you out of office. The taxpayers are the stockholders. They own the company and want labor expenses cut.

Riverman1
94505
Points
Riverman1 03/13/12 - 08:43 pm
0
0
To represent the power of the

To represent the power of the bent nosed union like educrat thugs, when the question of Charter Schools came up Nagle and the BOE said they didn't want to allow such things. Lightpole Ben Harbin, our illustrious Representative, went against our other area Republican legislators and is against allowing Charter Schools in Georgia. Every Republican candidate for President is in favor of these schools. What's going on in Columbia County?

Riverman1
94505
Points
Riverman1 03/13/12 - 08:45 pm
0
0
We have some of the highest

We have some of the highest paid teachers in the nation (look that up if you don't believe me), use parapros, pay assistant principals over $10,000 a year extra and pay principals exorbitant salaries. All this in a time of economic hardships and high unemployment with people lined up for jobs teaching in this great county with fantastic demographics and concerned parents.

my.voice
5185
Points
my.voice 03/13/12 - 09:36 pm
3
0
Rather than punish the kids,

Rather than punish the kids, clean out some of the overhead, yes, the administration. It's too top heavy.

Martinez
154
Points
Martinez 03/13/12 - 09:46 pm
3
2
Why would you want to allow

Why would you want to allow charter or magnet schools in Columbia County? You see how well that works in RC right? A few schools get to pick from the best and brightest students and win awards for great test scores all while the rest of the county fails. Truth be told, those best and bright students would probably score good regardless of their school choice but those few "special" schools get all the credit. CC has a true representation of progress, or lack thereof when appropriate. They don't hand pick their students. If a school has great scores overall, they did it with both the high and low students represented within that test pool. The government has poured millions into some of the worst performing schools in RC and not achieved the same results as CC so why not pay the teachers and administrators well in CC? If attracting and retaining top talent cost a little extra but in the end benefits the children, so be it. The tax base in CC is strong and voters have been very supportive of education.

Riverman1
94505
Points
Riverman1 03/13/12 - 09:55 pm
3
0
Charter and magnet schools

Charter and magnet schools are two different things. I agree with everything you said about magnet schools drawing the best students from the other schools. Charter schools work with the existing students and get more parental and community involvement in the existing schools. What's our strong point in Columbia County? Parental involvement.

gregleopard
150
Points
gregleopard 03/13/12 - 10:45 pm
2
0
When you talk about CC's

When you talk about CC's "true representation," Martinez, you fail to mention that CC doesn't have to pick their students because they have already been self selected, as a general matter, due to their parent's upper incomes. I dare ask, would CC's educational system succeed if it were inundated with countless low income individuals? It is fairly difficult to study for that math test when the real question on your mind is, "Will I be able to eat tomorrow?"

KSL
145073
Points
KSL 03/13/12 - 10:55 pm
0
1
Now that is a lame excuse.

Now that is a lame excuse. Richmond county, and others, have more serious problems if tax payer funds are not assured of getting where they are supposed to go, to the children. That was lbj's whole excuse for his great society, we can't allow the children to be punished. You have just made the point that his ideas placed into practice haven't worked. But then, many of us have known that all along.

countyman
21706
Points
countyman 03/13/12 - 11:16 pm
1
1
Somebody better tell the

Somebody better tell the faculty at Freedom Park(non magnet) they can't let their students score 100% on the reading part of the CRCT again.. The three magnet schools in RC(Davidson, AR Johnson, CT Walker) and Greenbrier in Columbia County scored 100% too..

The parents of students at Westside should quit their jobs, and find lower paying jobs.. They don't want people to know over the last decade if you average the SAT or ACT scores.. Then Westside(non magnet) beats every high school in Columbia County other than Lakeside or Greenbrier..

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 03/14/12 - 12:42 am
0
0
"It is fairly difficult to
Unpublished

"It is fairly difficult to study for that math test when the real question on your mind is, "Will I be able to eat tomorrow?""

Oh please, most of that low income gets food stamps for steak and other goodies, housing help, utility help, free medical. All for NOT working mostly by choice. While tons of working people in both counties dont qualify for that help to eat steak and are eating ramen noodles, but their students do just fine. Excuses excuses!! Bottom line is most of that low income getting all that free help in RC also contributes to a lot of the crime and to the disturbances in the schools! There are plenty of low income in CC, they work and don't make much but still have successful students just like the ones in RC, its when you get low income people that live off the gov't where you have the problems!! School is nothing more than a babysitter. And yes RC has way more of that than CC, and that's where the problems lie!!

Craig Spinks
818
Points
Craig Spinks 03/14/12 - 02:02 am
1
0
I'd pay more taxes next year

I'd pay more taxes next year to keep class sizes lower and to provide parapros for lower elementary students.

But I think the CCBOE needs to contract with a competent, experienced, disinterested, out-of-state entity to perform efficiency and personnel audits on itself and the public school system it operates. There's a lot to be said for "fresh eyes."

Just My Opinion
6306
Points
Just My Opinion 03/14/12 - 04:02 am
1
0
People forget that parapros

People forget that parapros are the best bargain the school system has! With increased class sizes, there's just no way that any elementary school teacher (K-3) can competently manage and TEACH those small children without the help of someone who knows what they are doing. Besides that, if and when a teacher is out of the classroom...due to illness or having to attend the countless meetings...the parapros are used to essentially teach the class. And, depending on the length of time the teacher is out for being sick, the parapro can teach the class for a few DAYS, rather than calling in a substitute "qualified and bona-fide" teacher!

Martinez
154
Points
Martinez 03/14/12 - 05:44 am
2
1
Admittedly, CC probably

Admittedly, CC probably wouldn't be as successful if not for the demographic of the county. All I am saying is that the demographic of the county tends to prioritize education so if that demographic votes in support of paying more for education, why shouldn't their teachers be paid accordingly.

And Countyman, congrats to Westside on a decade of average performance. When you say they beat every school in CC except 2, keep in mind CC only had 5 high schools, including the alternative school, over the last decade. Only recently did we get a 6th high school. In perspective, beating 3 of 5 schools is decent but not as huge of an accomplishment as you tried to imply.

Little Lamb
49380
Points
Little Lamb 03/14/12 - 06:46 am
0
0
When I read Martinez's

When I read Martinez's comment about ". . . a decade of average performance," my investment portfolio came to mind.

countyman
21706
Points
countyman 03/14/12 - 06:58 am
0
0
Evans would beat Grovetown

Evans would beat Grovetown even if the school opened before 2009, and sometimes Harlem wins in terms SAT or ACT scores..

If you describe Westside recent scores as 'average', then Evans, Harlem, and Grovetown must all be below average..

I guess we can assume then you wouldn't mind if I called Lakeside and especially Greenbrier scores average compared to Davidson..

Riverman1
94505
Points
Riverman1 03/14/12 - 07:00 am
0
0
Countyman, let's get real.

Countyman, let's get real. Richmond County students score terribly against other counties in the state. There was one article that ranked them dead last among large counties. I mean look at the scores by county.

Now, being real again, Westside is a great school. It's part of Martinez and we look at it as one of our own. We're proud of them. Davidson is a magnet school, but the entire CSRA can be proud of them. They take 50% black kids and have fantastic results. Their methods should be emulated by all.

bdr06
0
Points
bdr06 03/14/12 - 07:15 am
3
0
Get rid of the 4+ assistant

Get rid of the 4+ assistant principals at every high school. Don't leave every light on in the building every night! Eliminate all the assistant superintendent jobs at the Board office as well as all of their secretaries. They make far more than any teacher does!!The last positions eliminated should be teachers! Just plain stupid!!!

Riverman1
94505
Points
Riverman1 03/14/12 - 07:34 am
1
0
Where did the economics of

Where did the economics of education get so out of whack in Columbia County? Aides to teachers? Many assistant principals making at least $10,000 a year more? Principals right up there with the highest paid in the nation, especially when you factor in cost of living. All this in a county where people are lined up for jobs. I don't get it.

Little Lamb
49380
Points
Little Lamb 03/14/12 - 07:45 am
1
0
Riverman asked, “Where did

Riverman asked, “Where did the economics of education get so out of whack in Columbia County?”

I think the answer may be found partially in this above statement by Craig Spinks:

I'd pay more taxes next year to keep class sizes lower and to provide parapros for lower elementary students.

Let's face it, Columbia County is very wealthy, and its taxpayers spend much more on the school system than they need to.

pearlthesquirrel
786
Points
pearlthesquirrel 03/14/12 - 08:05 am
2
0
First: It would be nice if
Unpublished

First: It would be nice if The Augusta Chronicle had this article on its webpage with its proper heading, that being: "110 school jobs might go". No headline hyperlink and when I typed that specific headline into The Chronicles searchbox......nothing with that title came up.
Secondly: If you go back to yesterdays "rants and raves" section, you'll see my comment about the very first persons rant in the rants and raves section. I hope like heck that person sees this article and chimes in with their two-cents in the comment section because I would absolutely love to hear what they have to say about this issue. Please chime in - whoever you are!
Thirdly: Once again, and just like always, the "cuts" start from the "bottom up" instead of from the "top down." Oh yea, I hope you people love the plutocratic, oligarchical, paper-pusher society we live in. If you think classes are "hard to control" with 25(?) kids, just wait to you put 3 or 4 more kids into that burning bonfire.
Fourth: As always......peace out!

db16
95
Points
db16 03/14/12 - 10:08 am
6
1
Riverman, your views and how

Riverman, your views and how you perceive things are so far off the mark that it hurts. You are way outside of the walls of the reality of the school system. Education is, in fact, already run like a business. That is the main problem with the system right now. Turning EDUCATION into a business has completely demolished the foundations of quality education. It is right along the same lines of our Government trying to run our country like a business versus overseeing and upholding the Constitution (which was the original purpose of the Govt)...and you can see where that has placed us in Global Economics.
Secondly, Georgia is a non unionized state, fortunately for you and all of us taxpayers. Teachers are the most underappreciated and underpaid professionals (holding a 'required' college degree and certification) in all of the free world. If you had any clue at all, you would place all of your faith in the Teachers who enter this profession to make a difference in the lives of children and walk away from your 'off the mark opionions' about teachers working for summers off. Should I remind you that Educators have nothing given to them, they are also taxpayers, they are also contribute to the system, they also pay ridiculous amounts of money (being STATE EMPLOYEES) in Healthcare, Dental, Disability and Retirement...and most importantly, they have ZERO BACKING or NEGOTIATION POWER because they, indeed, are nothing more than Servants of a Broken System.
Lastly, Georgia Teachers make a good wage...they are not, in fact, as you say some of the highest paid in the country. Again, look at unionized states who pay their teachers much HIGHER salaries and provide ALL BENEFITS at ZERO COST to their employees.

countyman
21706
Points
countyman 03/14/12 - 10:17 am
1
0
Riverman.. Those were the

Riverman.. Those were the recent AYP results, and we know how those turned out... Atlanta was caught cheating, and other schools systems cheated too..

Westside is located in West Augusta, and not Martinez..

Compare Richmond County in terms of SAT scores, graduation rates, etc vs the large counties in the state..

I seriously hope you don't mean because they only have 50% of black students Davidson scores well.. The number is closer to 40%, but that still alot more than the CC schools except for maybe Grovetown..

AR Johnson is probably close to 70% black, and it's much better than every high school in CC except for maybe Lakeside..

Riverman1
94505
Points
Riverman1 03/14/12 - 10:13 am
0
0
Countyman, read past articles

Countyman, read past articles on the description of the borders of the nebulous Martinez. Most feel it begins at I-20. I have the same 30907 zipcode as they do.

Riverman1
94505
Points
Riverman1 03/14/12 - 10:22 am
1
1
DB16, back at you with the

DB16, back at you with the misinformation being painful. You mix things up when you talk upholding the Constitution and government run education. Nowhere does the Constitution call for public education.

Georgia teachers are the twelfth highest paid by actual numbers. THIRD highest when cost of living is factored in. All this in a relatively poor state. Teachers make more than most entire families do in Georgia.

One more fact, when you lament payments teachers have to pay towards their medical insurance. In about 15 years the entire current state budget for the state will go to pay the health care of state employees and retired state workers. Guess what? That won’t work.
We are simply spending too much and have to reel it in starting with schools.

Riverman1
94505
Points
Riverman1 03/14/12 - 10:25 am
1
0
Countyman, although I'm

Countyman, although I'm opposed to the magnet school concept taking the smartest and best behaved students, they do something right with large percentages of black students. Their teaching model should be studied.

db16
95
Points
db16 03/14/12 - 10:32 am
2
1
I understand your point

I understand your point Riverman...you say the 12th highest paid and 3rd respectively. Have you looked at the numbers, as a whole, the tax bases they encompass and where (Geographically) they are located. Look at the Atlanta area schools (Fulton, Gwinett, etc) and their Population, Schools and % of Salary. Just like anything else, these play a huge factor in the 'statistics' you are reading.
Again, the one thing Georgia has going for it, is that our 'Taxes' are ridiculously low as a whole. Trust me, my couple thousand a year is nothing compared to the folks in the Northeast who are dropping $500 a month or more.
The insurance thing has some validity. However, you forget that the insurance systems are monopolizing this whole process. We have no control over the prices, they do. Government can't control them and as long as we continue to provide Government Programs (Foodstamps, Housing and Medical) to these folks, the Medical Expenses will be through the roof. Again, it is a trickle down effect.
Ponder this...when will people stop making babies? Answer: NEVER.
When will there be a shortage of students and teachers? Answer: NEVER.
When will the Teachers System lost contributions? Answer: NEVER.
Bottom line is, buddy, Teachers are still doing their jobs, contributing, being hammered and underappreciated...and working with next to nothing by means of 'resources.' And, Teachers really don't have a say in what is going on...ironically!

Riverman1
94505
Points
Riverman1 03/14/12 - 11:06 am
0
0
DB16, you make some good

DB16, you make some good points. But when I said we are 3rd in teacher pay when the cost of living is considered, it was actually a more involved calculation that considered everything including housing costs, taxes and other factors. 12th straight up. Thus, it's pretty accurate. There's simply no getting around the fact Georgia teachers are much better paid than average Georgians.

Boudreaux
127
Points
Boudreaux 03/14/12 - 11:20 am
0
1
It's good to see someone else

It's good to see someone else notice how much teachers make. I thought I was the only one who thought, with the money shortages and poor results, they were overpaid.

Why anyone would want to make a smart, well behaved kid suffer with the out of control children is beyond me, no matter how they got to be that way.

db16
95
Points
db16 03/14/12 - 11:43 am
1
0
Riverman, for my own

Riverman, for my own informational database...please post the link where your information about Teacher Salaries is located? I would truly like to see what they calculate and how they come up with these numbers.
Boudreaux, do you know how much a teacher in CC starts out at? Do you know how much a teacher in RC start out at? CC is $33,400 with a local addition of $3400 by the CCBOE. Which equates to around $37000 per year. That is less than $2000 per month, bring home pay after you pull taxes, insurance, disability, TRS and all other deductions.
How can you say...'overpaid?'
Also, poor results are not 100% the fault of the teachers. Perhaps, if you look in the mirror, you would understand that if you are a parent, you have just as much @ stake and just as much interest in the education of your child as the teachers do. Educators are only 1/2 the battle...Educators have zero control of that child when they leave the confines of their respective schools. When the parents support the teachers, become parents instead of best friends with their children and hold their children accountable, the job of the Educator will produce results. It isn't just the Education of children anymore. Teachers are also trying to parent them, be their counselors, be their teachers, be their support, be their soundboard, and a deal with a slew of other baggage the children of today come with. When you understand that, you will truly understand the 'failures' or 'lack of results' meaning. Please don't bash Educators...they are truly underpaid and underheard!

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