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Proposed Richmond County school budget calls for cutting 135 jobs

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The Richmond County school system could resort to eliminating teachers, custodians and other employees to help make up a $23 million shortfall in next year’s budget.

A proposed budget presented to the Board of Education on Tuesday calls for cutting 75 teachers, 22 paraprofessionals, 30 custodians, an assistant principal, two guidance counselors and four clerical positions and reducing one nurse to part time.

Some of the 135 employees cuts would come by leaving open vacancies that were created from retirements, resignations and other attrition.

At Tuesday’s meeting, however, staffers could not estimate the number of layoffs needed to achieve the proposed $6.2 million in savings.

“Unfortunately, that’s where we had to go because that’s where the big dollars are,” said Controller Gene Spires. Salaries and benefits account for 84 percent of the system’s expenditures. “At some point there’s no way you can keep reducing the budget without affecting salaries and benefits.”

The board approved the initial 2013-14 budget with a 6-4 vote, provided it can be adjusted before adopting a final version at month’s end. Board members Jimmy At­kins, Venus Cain, Jack Padgett and Barbara Pulliam voted no.

Several board members cited the “under the gun” situation they were in after getting an initial budget less than three weeks before they must submit a balanced budget to the state, especially because employment contracts have already been awarded for next year.

Superintendent Frank Roberson said that staffers will start the budget process in September using projected data and present a proposed budget in February for discussion.

Richmond County is facing $19 million in state cuts along with a $3.3 million loss in equalization funding and a $1.8 million increase in the cost of health insurance for noncertified employees.

The financial crisis led Roberson in May to request that all principals cut 7 percent of their school budgets where they see fit. The downsizing led to teaching position cuts, a proposed $500,000 reduction in the use of substitute teachers and more than $700,000 in cuts in the use of utilities in schools.

The system will also eliminate more than $1 million in supplies and operating expenses, along with $300,000 in bus fuel. There will also be $1 million in utility cuts districtwide.

The cuts allowed the system to reduce the number of furlough days to eight from the nine implemented last year.

The proposed budget includes hiring, for $85,458, a human resources coordinator, a position eliminated two years ago; a human resources compliance officer for $61,413; and an assistant principal to be shared by two schools for $101,810.

Some board members questioned this central office expansion in light of the cuts that will affect classrooms.

Chief Human Resources Officer Norman Hill said the two new positions are necessary because his staff is overwhelmed handling new compliance requirements created by recent changes in legislation and increased employee relations responsibilities, grievances and recruitment work.

Roberson said the new positions could help prevent another costly mistake like the $250,000 the district had to pay the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia this year for allowing retirees to work more than allowed by law.

Board member Frank Dolan said he doubts that the additional manpower would have prevented the mistake, given the training already provided to the human resource staff.

Atkins questioned how hiring more staffers for human resources could prevent another problem when Roberson has never said who was to blame for the mistake in the first place.

“I know I personally asked numerous times who was responsible, who was to blame,” Atkins said, adding that he never got an answer.

Pulliam said she could not vote for the budget as it is because it includes spending $78,000 on a hiring tool from Gallup Inc. that will help human resources when hiring teachers and principals.

“As long as it’s on here, I can’t vote for this budget, and that’s all,” Pul­liam said. “When you don’t have no money, you have to cut back on certain things.”

The board did not set a date for approving the final budget but has a regular board meeting set for Tuesday.

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mosovich
757
Points
mosovich 06/11/13 - 10:03 pm
7
0
Shame..

Our kids need all the help they can get and we're cutting teachers and support staff.. Parents HAVE to get involved with their children or we'll see our society continue to go down, down, down..

Argie
37
Points
Argie 06/11/13 - 10:42 pm
9
0
"when you don't have no money"

Geez Barbara. Really?

dichotomy
31714
Points
dichotomy 06/11/13 - 11:19 pm
7
0
Yep, time to put the

Yep, time to put the champagne and caviar away and get out the sardines and root beer.

Welcome to OUR financial reality. I can't believe they are still continuing to hire administrative overhead. They've already got people running over each other down at the Puzzle Palace.

tinlizzie
16
Points
tinlizzie 06/11/13 - 11:35 pm
6
0
my thoughts

so let me ask the question that most people should ask...if the schools have been issued instructions to cut expenses by 7%, realizing it will lead to a reduced teaching staff, increased class size and reduced test scores, at what point in time does the board office trim 7% from it's own budget- this year you say- great- ooops I see the board is actually hiring more people to include a 78K piece of software to help determine who gets hired and promoted when we are laying off personnel..I assume those positions are filled from within at a higher salary. I understand the difficulty and magnitude of these decisions-maybe leadership needs to set an example and implement their 7% cut like the worker bees and publicize the cuts they make

sassylassie
420
Points
sassylassie 06/11/13 - 11:38 pm
7
0
So let me get this

So let me get this straight...
we are going to HIRE an AP for over $100,000? Can we not locate someone who doesn't demand such a salary? And what about all of those individuals sitting around on the 4th floor? Surely they could take time out of their busy week to GET INTO THE SCHOOLS TO HELP OUT. Heaven forbid! What do these overpaid assistant superintendents making $125,000 a year DO all day?
We are cutting teachers who are on the front lines every day working with kids. We are making cuts and putting money into the budget for asinine, ridiculous purchases such as a Gallup tool to find good administrators. REALLY? What IS NORMAN HILL'S OFFICE DOING????
And couldn't the Human Resources Compliance Officer be the same person as the Human Resources Coordinator? What in the world is going on? When are parents going to demand accountability from these individuals with these ridiculous budgets?
I can think of a lot of things that could be cut from the budget--perhaps some of that Title 1 money spent on summer school could be rerouted for REGULAR school.
Hey, has anybody with any SENSE suggested a 4-day school week? How many millions in bus fuel, food, electricity in buildings, could be saved? WHY HASN'T ANYONE THOUGHT OF THAT??? Looks to me like the individuals for the above-named positions have been pre-hired based on the salaries suggested. Obviously they know who they want. This is the problem with RCBOE.
Teachers already have 8 furlough days. ALL OF THIS could be avoided with a little common sense thinking which obviously isn't too common.
That place is an accident waiting to happen......

Argie
37
Points
Argie 06/12/13 - 01:04 am
8
0
What ?

Why would anyone in their right mind suggest purchasing a program to help hire teachers at a time when we cannot afford to hire them??

How many certified teachers do they have to lay off to pay for increased health care costs for non-certified people.

scoobynews
3824
Points
scoobynews 06/12/13 - 07:01 am
12
1
If Columbia county can do the

If Columbia county can do the job with only 2 top human resource people why can't Richmond? Amazing also that they can do it without a program to help them.

nocnoc
40510
Points
nocnoc 06/12/13 - 07:18 am
10
2
With Ga. mandated class to

With Ga. mandated class to teacher ratios, how is RC-BOE going to pull this off without increasing Taxes?

BTW: All you socialists, yellow dog democrats, and follow the leader liberals. Care to explain the $1.8 million increase in the cost of health insurance, after be being told by President Obama and the far left it would SAVE MONEY?

Rule #1 never believe what you are "TOLD" to trust, read the bill and understanding the far reaching impacts.

jmo
15081
Points
jmo 06/12/13 - 07:17 am
8
0
Do you smell.........

a tax increase?

avidreader
3078
Points
avidreader 06/12/13 - 07:21 am
7
0
Yep!

"a hard rain's a gonna fall"

soapy_725
43634
Points
soapy_725 06/12/13 - 08:10 am
1
0
It is a mandatory requirement of
Unpublished

every bureaucrat to hire at least two people to do the work he/she was hired to do. Those two will hire 4-5, and so it goes. Our government process is a pyramid scheme. Organized crime is a pyramid scheme.

In the corporate world, delegation of duties is a way to reduce the need for more management and save money. Success would be to eliminate your job entirely and move to another position of responsibility.

seenitB4
84424
Points
seenitB4 06/12/13 - 08:19 am
5
1
Open up wide Columbia county

I see a passel of folks coming your way....a big passel....

internationallyunknown
4022
Points
internationallyunknown 06/12/13 - 08:34 am
7
0
Word is.... Many former and

Word is....

Many former and current RCBOE educators are planning to start their own charter school....the Central Office IS THE PROBLEM?

mybaskett
220
Points
mybaskett 06/12/13 - 08:53 am
4
0
Make the tough decisions

No more furloughs. No more cuts. No more taxes. Add an additional 30 minutes to the work day and shut down for a couple of weeks. Stop Hiring after people have retired. Give others at the Board more responsibility with a pay increase and not a 50,000 pay increase a 5-10% pay increase.

Our contribution to this chaos will be with making class sizes smaller. This year we are putting our child in Private school. Over the years I have seen the demise of public education and it is not pretty. No more Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. It's all about passing the test. School is pretty much over after the testing.

This was not an easy decision based on the economy and our love for the staff. But an older man said to me one day, "Pay now or pay later." We decided to pay now.

My Prayers for the Teachers that do this everyday only because they love our children. Thank you, Thank you. We wish you all the best.

concerned consumer
25
Points
concerned consumer 06/12/13 - 03:23 pm
5
0
Waste!!

After reading this article. I have some answers. First of all reduce the amount of top paid administrators. Why was Dr. Bradshaw replaced, when she retired? There are currently two individuals in curriculum that can do the job. Put resource coaches back in the class room and reduce their salaries back to the step they would be on for teachers salary. This would help with cutting teacher positions.

Why do you need a Chief Human Resources Officer that is paid over $100K a year? Change his title to Director and reduce his salary by $30K.
Then have him monitor the hiring process instead of purchasing a $78K tool from Gallop. Also have him monitor the work ethics of his current staff. There are those that are coordinators that have excessive absentee issues, replace those individuals. This would eliminate the need to increase his staff and the budget.

The administrators on the top should never produce a budget with new monies added. We as tax payers know the state and federal funding has been reduced for education, therefore they have no right to expect us to pickup the tab.

Then last of all there are board members that are retired educators. They have been out of the classroom so long it is time for them to pull away from the table. They have become "rubber stampers". They know that the state and federal funding is being reduced therefore, approving a budget that adds money should never occur.

RCBOE you have a responsibility to the students and the public of Richmond County to review this budget and look for ways to cut excess.

Dixieman
13923
Points
Dixieman 06/12/13 - 10:06 am
5
1
Sad but inevitable

This is a roaring mess and nothing that is done - nothing - to sort it out will help one child do any better. Send your kids to private school.

dizzy dictator
87
Points
dizzy dictator 06/12/13 - 10:56 am
3
0
It may be wise to move to a

It may be wise to move to a four day week rather than cuts that have been listed. If some complain over the day care issue just remind them that the Richmond County School System is not in the baby sitting business. This city hold itself back on so many levels, reluctant to try something different. If you select Monday as the day off then when Holidays come rolling around the children will always be off and ready to still complete their four days. The four day School week will also save long term such as maintenance on the buses and schools.

candidperson
34
Points
candidperson 06/12/13 - 12:15 pm
4
0
It is a shame to see so much

It is a shame to see so much poor leadership in Richmond Co. from the Board of Education to the principals. I am an educator and a parent in Richmond Co. I have seen several people be promoted because of the "Buddy System", funds wasted, and no accountability for years. Dr. Bradshaw retires from the Board and many teachers were excited that the so called, "Spirit Creek Clique" would end ,but I guess not because Dr. Alexander is an Spirit Creek alumni. I do pray that she is not like the other Spirit Creek alumni that have helped in destroying Richmond County.

Thus, I have a third child attending Sego Middle School and will be in the 8th grade this coming school year. It is a shame how that school use to be the #1 middle school in Richmond County and now is one of the worst in the state. Sego is a so called "Alert" School now. Of course, the principal is a Spirit Creek alumni has been the main problem, in my opinion. When my other two children attended Sego, the principal, Dr. Wiggins, was hands-on. He worked hard to get the community involved and made progress with the school. Yet, with this principal, when my daughter was in 6th grade, she did not even know who the principal was until half way through the 7th grade. My daughter tells me that she does not ever see the principal at the school and that gangs are out of control at Sego. One day my child tells me that there were 7 fights in one day! Also, when I do pick up my daughter from school early there are several students walking the halls, cursing and have no care in the world.

Dr. Roberson when was the last time you been to Sego Middle School or talked to the teachers there? This principal has been at Sego for 5 years and why hasn't she been moved. Of course, here buddy Bradshaw takes up for her. Stop letting these unproductive principals remain in their position. If they are doing an unsatisfactory job than remove the principals. I know some of the teachers that work at Sego personally and they tell me it is horrible there. Administration hides in their office every day.

One Sego teacher told me, "what can a teacher do when a student tells you that he or she rather go to the office than be in class" and that students are given multiple days of detention or ISS but no punishment is given if the students do not attend detention. Furthermore, students are allowed to skip ISS because too many students are assigned to ISS or because ISS is canceled for the day! Why was ISS canceled the last week of school at Sego? The same bully that was terrorizing my child all year and probably others was allowed to go back to class. This students should of been suspended but one of the assistant principals is no better. I ask my child's teacher about the bully and the teacher claims that the bully had several write-ups turned in for the week but the assistant principal had not yet addressed the write-up! Teachers at Sego tell me often that the principals at Sego do not address the write-ups!

In addition, Richmond Co. wastes money consistently, buying ipads for the principals, creating unnecessary positions, etc. Instructional Coaches are not needed. There is a shortage of teachers already, put these people back in the classroom. Also, a graduation coach for middle school is absurd!

Equally important, I wish more parents will get involved with the PTA, PTO, and Board meetings. If you are not finding any success through these avenues then contact the local media outlets. There needs to be some pressure put on the Board of Education members on Broad Street and the principals. Some of the accountability falls on parents, too. We have to get out and demand better.

justthefacts
21115
Points
justthefacts 06/12/13 - 11:41 am
2
0
Amazing

How times change. I happened to be in the first grad class at Sego. All the others schools hated us because we had air conditioning. Ha. All brand new young, pretty teachers. Great memories of Sego.

tinlizzie
16
Points
tinlizzie 06/12/13 - 12:36 pm
2
1
4 by 10 schedule

I would guess that most teachers would be in favor of this as well as the student. If we are cutting teacher substitutes this would go along with that effort. Teacher attendance would be better as they make their appointments on their day off resulting in less demand for subs and savings. If you look around the net for articles on a 4 by 10 schedule everyone saves money by adopting the schedule. Teacher morale in some articles is reported to be higher as they have one less day of non-instructional duties. RCBOE should look into this option as well as Padgett's ideas on outsourcing certain positions and the savings he expects from reduced benefit costs. Don't forget the savings by eliminating positions at the Central Office

my.voice
4702
Points
my.voice 06/12/13 - 01:50 pm
5
0
Notice no ADMIN cuts?

Notice no ADMIN cuts? hmmmmm.........

showboat
330
Points
showboat 06/12/13 - 01:54 pm
0
0
RCB can waste all kind of
Unpublished

RCB can waste all kind of money the Central Office can be cut to the bone, eveyone on the 4th floor is running over each other. Norman Hill office could be close if they can't dom the job.

countyman
19545
Points
countyman 06/12/13 - 03:22 pm
1
5
Facts

Seenitb4... The Columbia County school board just approved raising taxes, and I think Aiken County will follow behind..

I guess none of this matters, because the sky can only fall in Richmond County.

corgimom
30311
Points
corgimom 06/12/13 - 04:14 pm
3
2
People, wake up. There IS a

People, wake up. There IS a tax increase coming, and it's going to be big, and there are more coming after that. The Race to the Top money will run out soon.

The schools are now the direct result of the drug trade that came into Augusta in the 1980's. Nobody did anything about it then, and now you are seeing the second and starting on the third generation of kids with drug-addicted parents. The amount of mentally ill and emotionally disturbed kids are staggering.

The school system died a long time ago, anything now is just good money after bad. Either put your kids in private school or get out of RC.

The inmates are running the asylum, and have been since the mid 80's.

corgimom
30311
Points
corgimom 06/12/13 - 04:16 pm
2
2
Oh, and let me tell all of

Oh, and let me tell all of you a secret- the principal is so busy with the violent kids, the ones that are trying to literally stab and kill other kids, "bullying" issues just go by the wayside. Candidperson, until your child is seriously hurt, with visible injuries, nothing will happen.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 06/12/13 - 04:35 pm
4
1
"The school system died a
Unpublished

"The school system died a long time ago, anything now is just good money after bad."
We should thank LBJ and the 'Great Society' and Carter and the DOE. Thanks liberals and democrats you have done more to destroy this country than the Russians.

specsta
6298
Points
specsta 06/12/13 - 05:16 pm
2
3
$$$ For Education

I'm still waiting for the headline:

"Prisons Undergo Budget Cuts - Money Will Be Used For Schools" along with an article about how non-violent offenders will no longer be incarcerated and the emphasis will be on education as a deterrent to crime.

Riverman1
81489
Points
Riverman1 06/12/13 - 05:40 pm
2
1
Augusta Property Tax

Realize Augusta has a millage rate much higher than Columbia County already. In Augusta the millage rate is .036590 which means on a $100,000 house the tax is $1463. For Columbia County (before last increase, tack on an extra $40 after the increase) the millage rate is .026977 which means on a $100,000 house the tax is $1079.

class1
299
Points
class1 06/12/13 - 09:39 pm
0
0
Funds

State needs to put on hold Professional Development for Teachers to renew their licenses. This has been done the last few years. This will save lots of money. Also, put the literacy coaches back into the classroom where they belong. Their excuses for not doing this is it is a different fund. Well, get someone to approve the moving of the funding. Yes, graduation coaches in middle school is a waste of money too. Not having substitutes will just cause the classes to get even larger when the teacher is sick. The classes are already larger than normal the past few years. Finally, roads and grounds, and buses need to go private. 7% cut by every school, well when are we going to see the results in the Chronicle posted by school what was cut?

Truth Matters
6496
Points
Truth Matters 06/12/13 - 10:59 pm
0
0
How many

Of these posters went to a RCBOE school? Don't expect an answer. Where is the NSA when you need some under cover work done??!!

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