Pay cuts, furloughs approved

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Pay cuts and furloughs helped balance the $225,241,336 budget the Richmond County school board tentatively approved Thursday.

Rising health care expenses, increased retirement costs and other expenditures created a $24.5 million hole in the budget, Richmond County Superintendent Dana Bedden said.

"It's probably the most painful thing I've had to do in the less than two years I've been here," Dr. Bedden said afterward. "I think the biggest thing for us was keeping people employed and sharing the burden."

Almost $2 million will be saved by cutting the local supplement for 190-day certified employees by $750 each. All employees except certified staff, such as teachers, will be furloughed for four days in the next school year. Teachers -- required by the state to work all 190 days -- will have the equivalent of a four-day pay cut without being furloughed.

That cut in pay would range from $67.66 a day for some employees to as much as $764.62 a day for the system's highest paid employee. Such cuts would add up to $1.8 million in savings, Dr. Bedden said.

Board President Marion Barnes said he understands the need for the pay cuts but he is concerned about the lowest-paid employees.

"We're taking money from the part-time people like custodians, and they can't even go to the store," Mr. Barnes said during the meeting.

All employees will receive personal notification on how the pay changes affect them by Sept. 1, Dr. Bedden said.

The After School Academy that was funded by the state's 20-day extension funds was eliminated to cut costs, said Virginia Bradshaw, the executive director of middle schools. The program was offered three days a week to help students excel on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test.

"We've gotten better at providing more targeted interventions during the school day, so we feel like we'll be able to meet the needs," Dr. Bradshaw said.

Larger classes also will affect Richmond County students, board member Alex Howard said. Class sizes will be increased to eliminate 43 unfilled teaching positions

"That does not have a good impact on student achievement, but we have to be realistic," he said. "These cuts have to be made, bottom line."

The finalized budget is expected to be approved June 23.

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215 or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.

HIGHLIGHTS OF BUDGET CUTS

These are some eliminations made by the Richmond County school board and how much it saved in the budget:

$1,987,080: Reduce local supplement for 190 certified staff by $750 each

$1,056,822: Eliminate after-school program

$995,712: Furlough all employees except 190-day certified staff and bus drivers

$842,788: Reduction to equalize the equivalent of four days pay, for certified employees, teachers, counselors, etc.

FOR A FULL LIST of the school board's budget reconciliation measures, visit www.rcboe.org/home.aspx

Comments (43) Add comment
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Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 06/05/09 - 05:00 am
0
0
5K employees in a 32K-student

5K employees in a 32K-student system? Absent tax hikes or new revenue sources, RIFs may be an unavoidable consequence of our recessionary economy.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 06/05/09 - 05:11 am
0
0
What happened to the

What happened to the line-item budget previously provided on the web by the RCBOE and previously referenced by an earlier AC story on this subject? Particularly, what about line categories 190 and 191 totaling over $7M in unspecified "other administrative expenses" and "other managerial expenses?"

justus4
99
Points
justus4 06/05/09 - 05:19 am
0
0
Drip, drip, drip, about the
Unpublished

Drip, drip, drip, about the RCBOE. The school's budget is now approved, so can we please move on? The answer is no. The all-white-media is suffering under the leadership of Dr Bedden and their obvious objectives are not being met, so the attempts will continue, much like grasping straws. Next, we'll be treated to some personal conflicts between board members along with a background story OR they'll find someone effected by the cuts and ask, "how do U feel about these cut?" Then, they'll go to the superintendent and ask, "Mr/Ms (u fill n name) will lose their job due to cuts, so what can U tell us" Ha! It is so easy to predict this bunch ...

my.voice
4801
Points
my.voice 06/05/09 - 06:40 am
0
0
Is the administrator taking a

Is the administrator taking a pay cut? PLEASE dont cut custodians pay. Heck, they make the school function and get nothing in return.

lylagirl
1
Points
lylagirl 06/05/09 - 06:45 am
0
0
So students achievement is

So students achievement is not the number one priority afterall. Creating new positions at the top is more of an urgency for RCBOE. I don't get it... increasing class sizes not only goes against the NCLB law but it is academic suicide!

eryvine
0
Points
eryvine 06/05/09 - 06:51 am
0
0
"That does not have a good

"That does not have a good impact on student achievement, but we have to be realistic," he said. "These cuts have to be made, bottom line."

How is the reduction in standards of education OK? That is a MAJOR problem with our education system now...

Ga Values
27
Points
Ga Values 06/05/09 - 07:19 am
0
0
What were the cuts in the

What were the cuts in the central office?

happy
0
Points
happy 06/05/09 - 07:39 am
0
0
I wish somone( the media )

I wish somone( the media ) would check in to all the conferences people are being sent to( California !!!! and Callaway Gardens !!!). It seems like Money could be saved on all of these travel expenses.

2tired2argueanymore
1
Points
2tired2argueanymore 06/05/09 - 07:40 am
0
0
Does anyone understand

Does anyone understand Justus? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

valleygrad99
0
Points
valleygrad99 06/05/09 - 08:07 am
0
0
Just wait until the CRCT

Just wait until the CRCT scores sink to the "bottom line." Then people will call for Bedden's head. He makes over $200K. He can at least take the furloughed workers to lunch.

garciadrive
0
Points
garciadrive 06/05/09 - 08:33 am
0
0
2tired, you blew it. you

2tired, you blew it. you probaly learned (as i did) in elementary school to ignore the class clown and he'd shut up. in this instance, everybody followed the lesson but you. remember that when he types his response or makes his next post.

lifelongresidient
0
Points
lifelongresidient 06/05/09 - 08:41 am
0
0
larger class sizes caused by

larger class sizes caused by fewer teachers, why is it the moronic school board will allowed for increased class sizes, laying off teachers, cutting cutting employee salaries but it's business as usual when it comes to athletics. i guess sports is more important than education, the idiotic and inept school board could have authorized all sports programs to be suspended until the budget crisis is resolved, but then i guess little "lysterine" then will not have a reason to go to school

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 06/05/09 - 09:02 am
0
0
I have a feeling after this
Unpublished

I have a feeling after this year, there will be more than 43 unfilled positions. They're going to need to do some more cuts. They've only saved $5 million and they're $24 million in the hole. Next he'll be asking them to cut off the Heating and A/C and open some windows.

emporersclothes
0
Points
emporersclothes 06/05/09 - 10:01 am
0
0
Is it true that a Certified

Is it true that a Certified Math teacher is being used as an "Instructional Coach" while a Math position will be unfilled? Will my child sit in a Math class with a substitute while a Certified Math teacher is making pretty bulletin boards about CRCT scores? Where do I find "yes/no" answers to these questions? How do I get the documented facts? Which teachers are Certified, TAPP? What are "Instructional Coaches"? How much are they paid? Couldn't we use more teachers in the classroom with that money? Couldn't we cut down on class size and classroom management issues? I do not have the money to pay for private school, but I want my child protected from such atrocities. What do I do?

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 06/05/09 - 10:22 am
0
0
(E)mperorsclothes, visit your

(E)mperorsclothes, visit your child's school regularly during instructional hours; sit in his/her classes; eat lunch with him or her; tell the teachers and administrators what do see and hear; tell them you'd like to help out in classrooms during the school day; if any classroom management or instructional issues noted are unresolved at the building level, go to Dr. Bedden and tell him what you've seen and heard as well as how you've been received in visited RCSS schools!

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 06/05/09 - 10:23 am
0
0
CORRECTION: line 3 - "do"

CORRECTION: line 3 - "do" should be "you."

educator09
0
Points
educator09 06/05/09 - 10:27 am
0
0
If the fuloughs and the pay

If the fuloughs and the pay cuts will save someone a job, I am all for it. I just hope that when the economy bounces back, the $750 that is being taken from our local supplement will be reinstated.

Ode
5
Points
Ode 06/05/09 - 10:28 am
0
0
Well emporer you have the

Well emporer you have the choice to stop sponging off a broken government run system and send your child to a private school that meets your criteria.

life
0
Points
life 06/05/09 - 10:38 am
0
0
Where are the CRCT results??

Where are the CRCT results?? What's the delay?? Do scores look that Bad? RCBOE don't know what they are doing!!! but we expect the children to know what they are doing!! HELP

corgimom
32137
Points
corgimom 06/05/09 - 12:40 pm
0
0
Emporer, here are your

Emporer, here are your answers: 1) Maybe, the certified math teacher has probably had enough of dealing with crazy kids and crazy parents. Coaches get paid more than teachers because they have advanced education and certifications and have to be curriculum experts. It involves a lot more than you think. And don't people have a right to make as much money as they can? 2) Probably. Go find a high school student that is a math geek and hire them to tutor your kid. 3) and 4). Ask the RCBOE, but what will you do once you have the answers? 5)Talk to the Principal of your school, but since this is a violation of a teacher's privacy, you probably won't get very far. And there may not be ANY at your child's school, so then what? 6.) They teach the teachers how to teach lessons (see #2), and make sure that curriculum is being taught and taught consistently to comply with state laws. And since curriculum and EOG tests change every year, it's a never-ending job. 7)Ask the RCBOE. 8) Absolutely, but see #6. 9) Who doesn't want that? 10) See #2, or teach them yourself, or move. But since the math teacher shortage exists nationwide at critical levels, you may have a problem.

KingJames
10
Points
KingJames 06/05/09 - 12:42 pm
0
0
Hey Life, can you do a better

Hey Life, can you do a better job than those on the RCBOE?

KSL
128772
Points
KSL 06/05/09 - 01:08 pm
0
0
As one a babyboomer who came

As one a babyboomer who came along in the biggest year of the booms, it was not uncommon to be in a classes with 33 or more other children. Get the feds back out of education and let the locals take care of it. Teachers can handle 33 students at a time if they don't have to put up with problem kids. Take the problem kids out immediately.

Ode
5
Points
Ode 06/05/09 - 01:20 pm
0
0
KSL - you are going down that

KSL - you are going down that slippery slope of personal responsibility and you know that won't fly in a 2009 socialist society.

corgimom
32137
Points
corgimom 06/05/09 - 01:24 pm
0
0
Happy, in order to obtain and

Happy, in order to obtain and maintain education credentials and certifications, continuing professional education is mandatory- it's required by state law. Nobody wants to hold conferences to get that continuing professional education in Augusta GA, because nobody-instructors or attendees- is interested in coming to Augusta GA. So you want to blame.... who?

imho1
0
Points
imho1 06/05/09 - 01:42 pm
0
0
All of the certified

All of the certified positions (i.e. teachers, administrators, etc.) that will be required to contribute 4 days of forced slavery should agree on 4 days to all call in sick. I am aware of no other job where it is legal to require employees to work days without pay. Seems like a great basis for a class action lawsuit.

life
0
Points
life 06/05/09 - 01:55 pm
0
0
Did I strike a nerve

Did I strike a nerve KingJames? Tell the administrators to get off their Butts and visit the schools OFTEN to see what is occuring at their schools. This is WHAT I PAY THEM FOR. The teachers can't do it all without RESOURCES!!!!! Lack of resources and funding= ABSOLUTE FAILURE!!! KINGJAMES

Tired of the BS
0
Points
Tired of the BS 06/05/09 - 02:25 pm
0
0
Richmond county should get a

Richmond county should get a kick-back from Drano b/c they sure know how to make things go down the drain.

Ode
5
Points
Ode 06/05/09 - 02:39 pm
0
0
imho nobody is being forced

imho nobody is being forced into slavery. They are receiving a pay cut. If they don't like their employer, their pay, their benefits, or their workplace environment they are free to take their marketable skills and look for a job elsewhere. Nobody is forced to be a teacher and nobody is forced to work for the government.

Fiat_Lux
15342
Points
Fiat_Lux 06/05/09 - 02:49 pm
0
0
Big classes aren't a big

Big classes aren't a big problem if the disrupters are removed, as KSL said. Give teachers the authority and support to enforce discipline and actually require students to earn their grades and an unbelievable number of problems in public education will disappear within a year. Even the entitled idiots who grew up in the current system of non-education custodianship might benefit from having their kids forced to study and behave well. Let this be the last trophy generation.

Ode
5
Points
Ode 06/05/09 - 02:52 pm
0
0
Well said Fiat but the social

Well said Fiat but the social welfare programs would have to be cut to help coerce these lazy and unmotivated students stay in school. The school boards would actually have to show some fiscal responsbility when their funding is reduced by having fewer students. If only the public would elect a responsible government then you are correct the problems in shcools would clear up quickly.

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