Officials mull teacher cuts

  • Follow Metro

Columbia County school officials, facing a tight budget in the next school year, might cut jobs to save money.

Superintendent Charles Nagle said Friday that the school system could eliminate about three dozen teaching positions, mostly through attrition.

The system is operating with $5 million less than initially budgeted this year, he said, because of state budget cuts and the elimination of the Homestead Tax Relief Grant.

"Our goal is to finish the school year and get into next year without a deficit," he said.

After a morning work session, Mr. Nagle said he believes he can eliminate 37 teaching positions in kindergarten through eighth grade next year through attrition and by filling classrooms to the maximum.

In previous years, school officials accounted for potential pupil growth by hiring enough teachers to keep class sizes below the maximum. However, state lawmakers recently upped the class sizes giving schools more leeway.

Because 90 percent of the school system's about $176 million budget is payroll, such a move might save about $3 million, Mr. Nagle said.

Other potential cuts include 10 Internet Technology employees, clerical aids at middle schools and career specialists at high schools.

School officials might also cut furniture purchases, except to meet the needs of the new Grovetown High School, and 10 percent in instructional supplies.

Mike Sleeper, a school board member, wrote in an e-mail that officials identified $6.3 million in possible cuts.

Board Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco stressed that Mr. Nagle was only making suggestions.

"I consider today to be a big think tank," she said. "Nothing is set in stone."

After the elimination of the homestead tax credits, Columbia County commissioners cut 2.6 percent, nearly $1.5 million, out of their about $55 million budget.

Commissioners warned department heads and division directors Thursday that as much or more cuts might be expected next year.

"We do have a difficult, I guess unusual, budget situation," commission Chairman Ron Cross said.

Reading from a memorandum he sent to county employees last month, Mr. Cross said, "We can't spend what we don't have."

Though the county met projections for an 8-percent growth in the tax digest, projections for growth in sales tax revenues are down 3 percent producing an about $1 million shortfall, county Finance Director Leanne DeLoach said.

To combat the financial crisis, the county has initiated a hiring freeze and might defer or delay many capital requests, according to Mr. Cross' memo.

Commissioners and school trustees will hold more budget sessions before finalizing their respective budgets.

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (11) 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.
Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 02/07/09 - 04:31 am
0
0
How 'bout cutting the legal

How 'bout cutting the legal fees paid to Pete and Larry Fletcher? Last year's audit of the RCBOE noted that Richmond County taxpayers had paid the Fletchers abnormally high legal fees, Are we taxpayers in Columbia County doing the same?

gnx
7
Points
gnx 02/07/09 - 05:33 am
0
0
I think most of the budget

I think most of the budget cutting needs to be done in those schools north of I-20. The county has already done as much damage as it possibly can budget-wise to the schools below that line. I may live in the Greenbriar zone, but all I have to do is drive through Harlem and I can readily see which schools aren't receiving any of that good county budget love. Just because there's a new high school north of I-20 doesn't mean Harlem High, Middle or Elementary should do without even more.

Goaliemom1987
7
Points
Goaliemom1987 02/07/09 - 09:43 am
0
0
The article did not say how

The article did not say how CCBOE is no longer hiring subs. It seems if your child's teacher calls in sick or is taking a personal day they will be pulling a Para Pro from her regular class room and put her in as the sub.It will save the county money as they don't have to pay the para sub pay...

Longtime CSRA resident
1
Points
Longtime CSRA resident 02/07/09 - 12:29 pm
0
0
There is no such position

There is no such position called an "Internet Technology" employee in the Columbia County School System. There are Technology Support Specialists (TSS) and Instructional Technology Specialists (ITS).

Just My Opinion
5880
Points
Just My Opinion 02/07/09 - 05:45 pm
0
0
Goaliemom, you're right. I

Goaliemom, you're right. I posted something on this yesterday. I am certainly not knocking the ParaPros and the hard work they do every day, but it just seems that this is a HUGE load on them! They are not qualified, nor licensed teachers, yet they are being asked to do the same job?? They don't get paid well at all, so does this mean that they would be getting an extra "bonus" for doing this? I'm quite sure the answer is a big NO! I have a child in elementary school, and I plan on letting the school board know exactly how I feel about this. Besides this, they are taking ALL of the piddly stipend the state gives the teachers to spend on supplies. I guess they are expecting the teachers to pay it themselves? What about the teachers who are facing a 10% pay cut??? Who else would stand for a 10% pay cut?? Let's start with the administrators first, THEN see how they like it! And did you know they are also considering having ALL the teachers work for 2 days out of the year WITH NO PAY?? Yup...ask Nagle and Buccafusco. But don't ask Sleeper...that man is just on another of his Witch Hunts! Sleeper is just out to promote himself, NOT the children!

ReginaB
0
Points
ReginaB 02/07/09 - 07:00 pm
0
0
This budget dilemma has

This budget dilemma has created a very unfortunate situation for the school system. Over the past several years the county tax digest has be growing comfortably and the school board has been able to add programs, teachers, para-professionals and schools with local dollars. Now that the state has taken a sizable chunk out of our allotment we will need the local dollars to make up the difference. Plans that were discussed yesterday are geared to maintain basic student needs first and not compromise the quality of education. We are committed to retaining all the staff currently employed. This includes the papa-professionals. The state funds them for kindergarten only. We believe that they are needed for 1st & 2nd as well, especially with the increased class size. The expense for these positions is about $3 million. If we can occasionally use them as a part day sub it would save some expense. The time fo penny pinching is here. And remember these were suggestions. As we work through the budget process between now and June we will make decisions dependent on a rising or falling economy. Please be patient with us. These are uncharted waters.

Goaliemom1987
7
Points
Goaliemom1987 02/07/09 - 08:37 pm
0
0
From what I heard the

From what I heard the para-professionals are going to be asked to sub when a teacher calls in sick this is starting as of this month. It's not a part day sub job it will be all day,because when a teacher calls in sick it's for the whole day not part of a day! It would be nice if the county would pay the para-professional a small amount for doing double duty in a day. They already don't make much money as it is.I understand a sub makes around $75.00/day so pay the para $25.00 for when she has to double as a sub. It would save the county money and keep alot of para-professionls happy. Just a thought.

Just My Opinion
5880
Points
Just My Opinion 02/07/09 - 08:45 pm
0
0
What does a "part day sub"

What does a "part day sub" mean? If a teacher is out sick or out of the school for an all-day inservice, is a non-licensed and unqualified para-pro going to be teaching the students ALL DAY or not? And what about the stipend that the teachers get to pay for essentials? Now that that is being taken away, how are the teachers supposed to obtain paper, crayons, pencils, glue, etc.? I appreciate you coming on here and stating your case, but do not expect people to be patient when they know that big changes are coming that WILL impact every child in a Columbia County school! The County and the State keep expecting teachers to do so much more with so much less, and still expect the CRCT scores to rise. When they don't, the administrators just shake their heads and put more pressure on the teachers to do better, when in actuality, the teachers can tell you EXACTLY why the test scores suffer. Increasing class sizes and forcing special-needs and at-risk children in the classes with "normal" children cause numerous disruptions that undermine effective learning. You know it and I know it...and even the children know it! Every study tells you to not increase class sizes, so why do it?

Goaliemom1987
7
Points
Goaliemom1987 02/07/09 - 09:08 pm
0
0
In some schools (elementary)

In some schools (elementary) when a teacher is out and when a sub could not be found the para-professional's took turns going in the classroom "Teaching" from the teachers lesson plans. They would change every 45 minutes or every hour. As they also have to cover LFS planning, collab. planning,lunch duty,ITS coverage,etc,etc.They are all in for a wild ride next year with class sizes going up,and CCBOE not providing subs to help with absences or the planning/trainning times of the teachers.

harlem556
0
Points
harlem556 02/09/09 - 06:15 pm
0
0
I think the School Board

I think the School Board needs to look higher up when talking about cuts! The people in our schools affect our children every day. The people at the board office do not!! Look at how many positions are in each area at ccboe: for instance HR has NINE people working in that office!!! Business and Payroll have FIFTEEN!! When you start having positions called Director, executive director, assistant director, assistant to the assistant, then you need to start making cuts in those areas. Leave the school personnel alone, otherwise our children will be adversely affected.

Goaliemom1987
7
Points
Goaliemom1987 02/11/09 - 05:31 pm
0
0
AMEN, "harlem556" I agree

AMEN, "harlem556" I agree they have a assistant for an assistant!

Back to Top

Top headlines

Solar 'farm' for Fort Gordon?

ATLANTA -- Georgia military installations at Fort Stewart, Fort Gordon, Fort Benning and Kings Bay will one day be housing solar farms that can make them independent of the power grid in ...
Search Augusta jobs