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Richmond County school board proposes shortfall solutions

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 8:22 PM
Last updated Wednesday, June 13, 2012 1:53 AM
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The Richmond County School System could implement nine furlough days next school year, increase class size limits and eliminate about 100 positions, mostly through attrition, to deal with a $34 million shortfall to the 2012-13 budget.

In covering the shortfall, the system is set to use $17 million of reserve funds, leaving just $10 million – enough to cover two weeks of operating expenses in case of an emergency.

“Unfortunately this is the new normal now that we’re dealing with,” Superintendent Frank Roberson said. “Trying to do the same or more with less. It’s going to require smart people, and it’s going to require smart behavior.”

The Richmond County Board of Education gave initial approval to the proposed budget Tuesday, with members Jimmy Atkins and Barbara Pulliam in dissent. The board will vote to formally adopt the budget at the end of June.

The cuts include 53 teaching positions, a public information officer, three assistant principals, one custodian, 60 first-grade teaching assistants phased out until 2014, two public safety officers and nine Career Technical and Agricultural Education teachers.

Controller Gene Spires said these eliminations are positions that are currently vacant from resignations, retirements and other means of attrition. About two CTAE teaching positions could be considered layoffs if the system cannot relocate them, Spires said. Part of a need for cuts comes from a $22 million decrease in state funding for 2012-13. State cuts began in 2002 as a $3 million reduction and have gradually increased over the years into the tens of millions.

“We thought it was bad when they took three and six and seven million (dollars) per year, but it’s really bad now that they’re taking $22 million,” Spires said.

The RCBOE also approved a five-student increase in class size over the state limits to make up for the budget deficit. The board voted to increase classes by three students in March but had to add to that when the budget outlook grew dimmer, Deputy Superintendent James Whitson said.

The school system also had to account for a 50 percent increase since last year in noncertified health insurance costs after the state moved to contribute less to all Georgia school districts over the next four years.

Despite the harsh cuts proposed for next year, board members said they hoped the worst part of the economic crisis would end soon.

“We keep saying next year is going to be worse, and I think next year is the bottom of the pit,” said board member Jack Padgett.

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blues550
368
Points
blues550 06/13/12 - 06:19 am
0
0
Reserve Fund
Unpublished

Reaching that far into reserves is not wise.

Little Lamb
44899
Points
Little Lamb 06/13/12 - 07:45 am
1
3
A Little Late

Isn't the end of June a little late to be thinking about the budget for a school year that begins in mid-August?

Well, that's what happens when you have a school board that did not take appropriate action when the superintendent became disabled.

Little Lamb
44899
Points
Little Lamb 06/13/12 - 07:49 am
3
4
Breakfast

One very easy cut in the budget would be to eliminate the breakfast program. That is not required by the state or the feds and it is very costly.

Another easy cut would be to eliminate Saturday school. It is not required by the state or the feds. The schools should have the HVAC and the lights cut off from the end of school Friday to beginning of school Monday to cut down on utility costs.

Another easy saving would be to extend the walking zones around each school. The buses pick up anyone who wants to ride, some just a few blocks away from the schools. Physical fitness would improve if more children walked to school.

redapples
657
Points
redapples 06/13/12 - 07:51 am
3
1
These kind of cuts are not a

These kind of cuts are not a recipe for success. Compare the size of the workforce at CCBOE and RCBOE and I think it will show that RCBOE can operate significantly leaner at the top and not affect what goes on in the classroom.

Little Lamb
44899
Points
Little Lamb 06/13/12 - 07:52 am
2
4
Four-Day School

A huge saving could be realized by going to four-day-a-week school. To preserve Friday night high school football, school needs to be in session on Friday. So the school week for all grades and classes should be Tuesday though Friday. The schools should be dark & cold Friday evening through Tuesday morning.

Little Lamb
44899
Points
Little Lamb 06/13/12 - 07:55 am
1
4
Truant Officers

I think if you look hard enough, you might find some savings to be had in the school police force. Maybe get rid of it altogether and call in the sheriff if violence erupts.

avidreader
3069
Points
avidreader 06/13/12 - 08:31 am
2
5
Little Lamb

Any program that is designed for "economically disadvantaged" (a swift euphemism) kids is a sacred cow; as are all sports programs. PE classes are questionable -- at least in the high schools, including HEALTH. What's a citizen to do?

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 06/13/12 - 09:42 am
0
1
What about our Obama money?

I thought President Obama brought us from the "brink of economic disaster."

Didn't the stimulus rescue the economy and cure cancer?

Was "Recovery Summer" just a dream I had?

All of this must be Bush's fault.

fsurock38
3
Points
fsurock38 06/13/12 - 09:46 am
1
1
New Teacher Orientation

If you go to the eboard website for last nights meeting, they have an updated calendar reflecting the furlough days. I also noticed that they are having New Teacher Orientation on August 1, 2, & 3. This is something the board could cut out and possibly save a teaching position. There probably aren't many new teachers hired, if any, but stipends are paid and top heavy central office employees work the orientation.

proud2bamerican
441
Points
proud2bamerican 06/13/12 - 10:29 am
3
0
call to action

Something needs to change and change quickly if we are going to provide the education these children deserve and the money is there to supply it! One thing is clear, new I-Pads for all the teachers is NOT the answer. Increasing class size is NOT the answer. I agree with many that the cuts need to start at the top including many, many, many of the "projects" and "committees" that are constantly in process to "improve learning". They are nothing more than a way to spend time and money that should be spent on HIRING more QUALIFIED teachers and REDUCING class size. If you look at the overall 2012 EOCT scores of all RC high schools they are SHAMEFUL. However, if you look at Davidson and Johnson the scores are 30-70% greater across the board. Granted, these schools pull from the best students, however there is SOMETHING to be learned from them when you see this kind of spread in the EOCT scores. Who will attend the next RCBOE meeting? We are spiraling downhill and out of control.

class1
299
Points
class1 06/13/12 - 10:37 am
3
0
They need to figure out a way

They need to figure out a way to start moving some of the money around so there is no furlough days. South Carolina has ordered school boards to make it work without any furlough days. There are ways to make the cuts. For example, stop wasting money out professional development for teachers out of the area. Also, cut the coaches for reading and math position in the schools and put them back into the classrooms. Additionally, just stop wasting the money by allowing principals to spend it on stuff that is not necessary.

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 06/13/12 - 12:11 pm
0
0
money can be saved by
Unpublished

money can be saved by expelling all students who are disrespectful, disruptive, violent, drug deaing, rapist, criminals, and students who have no interest or motivation to learn. that will eliminate the need for at least 2-3 high schools, 4-5 elementary schools. due to consistently poor, substandard test scores why not merge lany/josey into one school, it is eveident laney's enrollment is not sufficient to justify it's continued operation, especially when middle school students are attending the school in order to boost enrollment levels, where all other high school grades start at the 9th grade

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 06/13/12 - 01:26 pm
2
0
How many millions of dollars does the RCBOE spend...

on unspecified administratives expenses each year?

allhans
23471
Points
allhans 06/13/12 - 01:27 pm
0
0
So why is the cost more now

So why is the cost more now than in the past. Inflation, yes. But what other factors are involved.
Which factions of the system are showing an increase. Look at a spread sheet...

Jake
32164
Points
Jake 06/13/12 - 01:56 pm
0
0
Sign of the times

What is happening to the Richmond County School System is happening nationwide. We have similar problems out here in CA with the government funding short falls. Other than proposed cuts, how about the parents of children that are in school come up with creative measures to add additional funds to the school system? We have been doing that out here. It can't replace ALL of the funds that are short but it can make a difference. Of course one assumes that the parents are interested in the education of their children.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 06/13/12 - 03:29 pm
1
0
Can we blame Gov. Deal?
Unpublished

Again, I say how many millions of dollars does the RCBOE spend on unspecified administratives expenses each year?

Instructional Coaches are not needed.

Can we blame Gov. Deal?

iLove
626
Points
iLove 06/13/12 - 03:30 pm
1
0
Where is the money that has
Unpublished

Where is the money that has been "cut" going, I wonder?

allhans
23471
Points
allhans 06/13/12 - 04:54 pm
1
0
ilove..It never was. This is

ilove..It never was. This is only imaginary funds, not actual dollars.
They project an income, (meaning mainly taxes from usa taxpayers) and then project a budget to stay within that limit. So it is money that haven't been collected yet, and might never be.

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