Members say options open to make cuts

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Richmond County school board members gave every indication Monday that they intend to fully consider a list of options, including pay cuts, layoffs and furloughs, to offset a $24.5 million shortfall.

Controller Gene Spires said this is the first time he has presented the board with an unbalanced budget, but Superintendent Dana Bedden said it's important to get the board's input early in the budget process.

Monday was the first meeting on the fiscal year 2010 budget. No action was taken on the $272.5 million proposal, but before the board adjourned Dr. Bedden asked board members to voice any concerns they might have regarding the options presented.

No one voiced any opposition to moving forward with the cuts.

"I think you just need to keep drilling, obviously as painlessly as possible," said Frank Dolan, chairman of the board's finance committee, thankful that the superintendent didn't spare any "sacred cows."

The budget options spread the financial burden to all employees.

The pay cuts would reduce all 190-day certified employees by $750 annually. This includes teachers, media specialists and counselors. Public hearings must be held before the board can do this.

The options also call for furloughing all other employees for four days.

"That includes me," Dr. Bedden said. "Everybody's got to feel the pain."

The loss of four days would come to more than $750 for senior school leaders and less than $750 for the lowest-paid employees.

The budget proposal, which includes larger classes and several other measures, reduced the original shortfall to $18 million, and the list of cost-saving options could reduce it by another $10 million. That leaves about $7.8 million for officials to find.

"Everybody's an expert on cuts if you read the papers," Dr. Bedden said, adding that in less than two years as superintendent he has sliced $27 million from the budget.

The 2010 budget proposal increases expenditures by about $5.5 million from the current year, attributed largely to "the costs of doing business," such as a state-mandated salary step increase for teachers and increased benefits costs, Director of Finance and Accounting Anita Faglier said.

The budget shortfall is the result of those rising costs, decreasing revenue and slumping enrollment.

"We've already been whacked by about $4 million" as a result of the declining enrollment, Dr. Bedden said.

The board will continue its discussions on the budget during a special called meeting at 4 p.m. today. Another budget meeting has been called for 2:30 p.m. May 26.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

ONLINE EXTRA

Click here to read the complete fiscal year 2010 proposed budget.


See our database of school employee salaries at augustachronicle.com/metro/salaries/school.shtml.

Comments (17) Add comment
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Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 05/19/09 - 03:05 am
0
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How about an item-by-item

How about an item-by-item delineation of projected expenditures in budget categories 190 and 191(Other Administrative and Managerial Expenses) in the proposed budget as displayed under "ONLINE EXTRA" presented immediately above?

lylagirl
1
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lylagirl 05/19/09 - 03:17 am
0
0
So no one can be an expert on

So no one can be an expert on budget issues but the wonderful Dr. Bedden and his Board? That statement appears to me to suggest the people (natives) of Richmond County are not capable of discussing issues affecting them and their children. Don't worry about what everyone is saying in the paper (freedom of speech). In regardless if they are experts or not, one thing is for sure, they are TAXPAYERS! Get it together!

Riverman1
84952
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Riverman1 05/19/09 - 05:04 am
0
0
If your enrollment is going

If your enrollment is going down I don't see why classes will be larger with fewer teaches.

conservative
0
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conservative 05/19/09 - 06:22 am
0
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Hopefully the board will have

Hopefully the board will have the courage to vote down the proposed additional central office positions that are on the agenda for today's meeting. Also, why will the new deputy assistant supt. be making $152,310 more that the retiring one who has 30 plus years of experience? This is almost double. Also, do we really need an information officer and the services of a public relations firm? Can't Dr. Bedden speak for himself? Oh, wait! Wasn't that an issue for the previous administration?

justus4
103
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justus4 05/19/09 - 07:08 am
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What is this constant drip,
Unpublished

What is this constant drip, drip, about budgets cuts and personnel cuts that this publication print about the RCBOE. What about other governmental agencies who are facing cuts? What is their point? This is not reporting on actual cuts but suspected cuts. Why? It is because of WHO the captian is. This approach of steering issues to public opinion is not providing a genuine service. This is getting silly. Let the decisions be made and then report the final decisions, not a daily statement fron individuals who can't predict the future. Why not a report on law enforcement agency cuts? Nothing. No wonder these thing are losing circulation cause of YOUR actions.

corgimom
33216
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corgimom 05/19/09 - 07:16 am
0
0
Because even though

Because even though enrollment is declining, the layoff of teachers will not be in proportion to the decline of enrollment.

BigJon
0
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BigJon 05/19/09 - 07:23 am
0
0
Rather then people lossing

Rather then people lossing their jobs or forcing people to take unpaid time off I did not see anywhere about the scaling back of Richmond Counties school sports programs. Think about all the overtime paid to teacher-coaches and the cost of fuel and new equipment. Cut that before you cut into education.

disssman
6
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disssman 05/19/09 - 08:38 am
0
0
He sure dosen't talk about

He sure dosen't talk about getting rid of some deputies or media mouth pieces though. Well I still bet he is the front runner for a whopping big bonus this time around.

noway
201
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noway 05/19/09 - 09:08 am
0
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BigJon, the coaches-teachers

BigJon, the coaches-teachers don't get paid OVERTIME for coaching the kids. Don't take something away that benefits the kids, that's ridiculous. The teachers make pennies to coach team sports and put in numerous hours for the kids. That is the worst idea yet, Maybe parents should take kids to their games instead of the school, but then, the kids wouldn't get there.

BigJon
0
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BigJon 05/19/09 - 09:40 am
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Noway, I used to coach High

Noway, I used to coach High School football but not in this state and the teach-coach's did get OT for it, sorry if thats not how Richmond Co is. I understand the strength that after school sports brings to kids, but I also understand that school is for education and not the other way around. It would kill me and my son if he could not play in school sports, it would also kill him if he had to work at WalMart the rest of his life because the education system failed him becuase he's NOT going to get a full ride to collage from sports but he migh be able to pull some grants due to his GPA, not his 40 yard time.

Tots
25996
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Tots 05/19/09 - 10:01 am
0
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I just went to the web site

I just went to the web site you list on here.- augustachronicle.com/metro/salaries/school.shtml It would not say how much Dana Bedden makes.Why? And why dont you post the superintendents pay when your doing these articles.

JustMe
0
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JustMe 05/19/09 - 12:54 pm
0
0
Dr. ould not help. How about

Dr. ould not help. How about you pay for your own kids breakfasts or they eat at homw....this would save a couple of million. Dr. Bedden and the school board have already dropped 4 million from the budget. Columbia County has already let go of teachers. Dr. Bedden is trying to cut money, while helping people keep jobs. No wonder they say the public can't understand...YOU CAN'T!!!

KingJames
10
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KingJames 05/19/09 - 12:54 pm
0
0
Totsalot69, you are mistaken.

Totsalot69, you are mistaken. Dr. B's salary is listed. As much as I hate to admit it, all the salaries are there by employee name and location. I told Johnny Edwards that I disagree with him posting everyone's salary/wages. I don't think it's that important to know how much the lunchroom lady and the custodian earn, especially since they are listed by name. However, it is important to know how much managers and senior managers earn, including superintendents and principals. People earning less than $45,000 a year should not have their names listed because they are essentially workers. Those who earn more and make decisions that effect policies and procedures should be listed. Bedden's salary is listed. Type in his name and click the Search button.

Tots
25996
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Tots 05/19/09 - 02:02 pm
0
0
Went to the web site thats

Went to the web site thats listed on here again still says NO records found.Maybe you can just tell me.Are give me the web site your useing.

georgiastoryteller
0
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georgiastoryteller 05/19/09 - 04:30 pm
0
0
NO ONE at the central office

NO ONE at the central office should be making $145,000 CONSERVATIVE. Thanks for brining that to our attention. This is wasteful. Wonder when Bedden's salary will be cut? HEAVENS! The thought. TOTSALOT69, it's about 250,000. ASININE. ANd to think we still have to pay "Chief Stein" and some of these other folks.

georgiastoryteller
0
Points
georgiastoryteller 05/19/09 - 04:32 pm
0
0
Oh, Mr. Dolan, you are

Oh, Mr. Dolan, you are incorrect--tell us EXACTLY which "sacred cows" weren't spared? That's a joke! Tell us about the move "down" proposed for Gene Spires and Dr. Woods. HMM? What about Stein and her position? What about the fat check that Lou Svela gets and HE CAN'T REPORT THE NEWS STRAIGHT because MOST OF THE TIME BEDDEN SPEAKS FOR HIMSELF! Ridiclous. I firmly believe that the Board is blind!

Tots
25996
Points
Tots 05/19/09 - 05:33 pm
0
0
Kristina-when I went to the

Kristina-when I went to the web site without being logged into the Augusta Chronicle.I got the information.230,375.28 It did not say if this was with his bonuses or before.

Cestlavie
134
Points
Cestlavie 05/19/09 - 06:35 pm
0
0
I think that Dr. Bedden's

I think that Dr. Bedden's salary is fair considering the size of this system and his experience. Superintendents in McDuffie, Thomas (Thomasville in S. GA), Jefferson counties and Vidalia all make between $140,000 to $150,000/year according to the State of GA Audits Dept. These are pretty small systems compared to Richmond County. I think he's on the right road to fixing a system that has been broken for over 20 years. It won't happen overnight. As far as the budget is concerned, I think that we do have too many paper pushers at the central office and should cut those salaries by 20%. I also think that the IT department should look into using open source software as much as possible and eliminate the expensive licensing fees for proprietary software. We have to put some effort into being released from the desegregation order which is a moot point with an African-American superintendent and a school population that is over 70% African-American. Much of the waste comes from having to abide by this outdated court order which is totally unnecessary now.

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