Richmond County schools face more cuts

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The Richmond County school system plunged deeper into its budgetary hole Tuesday as Superintendent Dana Bedden announced more than $800,000 in additional cuts.

Dr. Bedden told school board members that Gov. Sonny Perdue ordered a cut of $709,325 along with a 5 percent cut to the transportation budget for a total of $867,029. The governor also approved three furlough days and adjustments to state health insurance.

The cuts are on top of the $7.2 million shortfall the system is already facing -- and the problem isn't likely to end any time soon.

If things continue on the same path, Dr. Bedden said, it's likely more cuts will be needed by December or January.

"I'm not sure it's going to stop because all indications the revenue continues to decline in the state of Georgia," he said.

Mr. Perdue announced plans to balance the state's projected $900 million shortfall in July, saying he would withhold 3 percent from the state's education funding formula and the equivalent of three furlough days for all state-funded school employees.

Dr. Bedden said he hoped the transportation cut could be made up because fuel costs have yet to exceed the amount of money budgeted for gas this year.

"We are just going to have to deal with it within the current budget," he said.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3338 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.

NEW SAFETY DIRECTOR

Patrick Clayton, a former special agent at Augusta's Drug Enforcement Agency office, was appointed the new public safety director for the Richmond County Board of Education Police. Mr. Clayton said he plans to work with individual schools to identify the greatest problems facing them on a daily basis. He used fighting as an example and said he hoped to address the underlying causes of the problems. Former Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Richard Roundtree was nominated as the lieutenant for school safety.

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Just My Opinion
5850
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Just My Opinion 08/19/09 - 05:11 am
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No, this would certainly not

No, this would certainly not cure it by a long shot, but how about next year they don't have one of those "Sales Tax Free" weekends? That's alot of money that's just gone...taken completely off the table. Without it, you can still bet that the retailers will have pretty good discounts. Let's not be stupid about this. One of my favorite sayings is "If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you do is stop digging!".

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 08/19/09 - 05:13 am
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Hiring law enforcement

Hiring law enforcement professionals, rather than relatives and cronies, to run the school police force will result in stunning improvements in school safety and security in Richmond County Public Schools.

wonderwhygib
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wonderwhygib 08/19/09 - 06:31 am
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Clayton seems to be a good

Clayton seems to be a good pick. Rountree is a "crony". IMHO, RCSO is glad to get rid of him. His "shenanigins"
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/101008/met_478926.shtml is what brought him down to a property crimes investigator, from the high profile job he had at RCSO. Hanging out with Bedden, "Killa Catcha" became good buddies with Bedden, who wanted him for the director but could not get the support. So he brought Rountree in under the radar, letting employees already in place know that he does not care about their upward mobility, not giving them a chance at promotions after having been there for years.

wonderwhygib
0
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wonderwhygib 08/19/09 - 06:39 am
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And why did they need a

And why did they need a lieutenant for school safety anyway. They went so long without one. Filling that job, eats up about another $100,000 (in salary, benefits vehicle etc). The former director never had one. Since Clayton appears to stand head and shoulder above her, why make a Lieutenant now. Bedden got to take care of his friend.

jackfruitpaper833
41
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jackfruitpaper833 08/19/09 - 06:55 am
0
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If Chief Stein is at the age

If Chief Stein is at the age or has the years to retire maybe she would, until then if she wants to continue to work and has her health and strength let her work.

workingmom
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workingmom 08/19/09 - 07:19 am
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Justmyopinion, I agree with

Justmyopinion, I agree with you. If you think about it, you'd have to spend over $500 to save enough to buy one or two extra articles of clothing. I know that $35 did not come close to covering school supplies for my children. This sounds like a good place to cut back for next year.

Little Lamb
46859
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Little Lamb 08/19/09 - 07:24 am
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There are so many creative

There are so many creative ways to save money while providing bus transportation. But RCBOE is stuck in the mud, continuing to do things the way they always have.

One who cares
0
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One who cares 08/19/09 - 07:25 am
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Let's get rid of Bedden,

Let's get rid of Bedden, that's about 200,000 dollars and get someone we don't have to take of his friends and cronies. We keep getting these cuts and lo and behold our students are getting out of school at 3:15pm and not getting home til almost 4:30 and 5:00pm. Yep let's cut the Transportation department one more time. Bedden does not have to listen to these parents like the Secretaries at the Schools do. Get it together and don't think you can take more money from the people who keep the school running smooth _ (Secretaries). Go away BEDDEN

CCHS Parent
0
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CCHS Parent 08/19/09 - 08:34 am
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Retired Carpenter...I am not

Retired Carpenter...I am not sure what school secretaries your talking about but the ones at our school don't do anything to keep the school running smoothly..all they do is gossip and keep the students at war!!!! Not mention they are the most unfriendly women I have every met!!!! At least they are at CCHS.

lifelongresidient
0
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lifelongresidient 08/19/09 - 08:34 am
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let's see, the school board

let's see, the school board in their infinite wisdom probably will decide that teachers, parapros or transport workers (those that are essential to the education process) are not necessary and cut out additional positions...what about extra-curricular activities??? it seems sports is the "sacred cow" of the school board, immune from any kind of budgetary cuts or reductions..i guess they could cut the amount of gatorade made available. i see butler high school is getting a new addition, probably a new gym costing a few million dollars...gee i wonder if the money spent on that could have helped close the budget shortfall.

olafjohnson
0
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olafjohnson 08/19/09 - 08:42 am
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Cut the fat in personnel,

Cut the fat in personnel, especially ath the central office and you will have a surplus. Oh, you can't do that, that would put do nothing family members, and cronies out on the street.

CCHS Parent
0
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CCHS Parent 08/19/09 - 08:45 am
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Hey what ever happened to

Hey what ever happened to them closing down one of the high school...granted we don't need any more kids ar CC because we have enough out of zone kids as it is, but wouldn't that have helpped with the budget shortfall? And then I heard something about this rediculous amoutn of money that the board spend on a tractor to mow grass with.....they have not been using the new tractor at CC.....I thank God my child is a senior and this will be our last year dealing with this school board.....it doesn't appear that education is their primary focus.

phillygirl
0
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phillygirl 08/19/09 - 09:02 am
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i agree with you about the

i agree with you about the secretaries at some schools they are so unprofessionals

JUSTICE187
14
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JUSTICE187 08/19/09 - 09:05 am
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Clayton and Roundtree will do

Clayton and Roundtree will do a good job. Both are qualified. The gang and drug problem are out of control in our schools. It is my hope that the current/capable Officers will be allowed to do their jobs and given the tools needed. I think the current supervisors inclusive of the captain should be placed on a probationary perion and given an opportunity to redeem themselves, they are a joke and indicitive of the ineptitude of former Director/chief Stien. The time to take back our schools is long overdue and my beleif is that if Dr. Bedden will allow these two gentlemen some autonomy, change will occur rapidly.

life
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life 08/19/09 - 10:29 am
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You all. I have read the

You all. I have read the concerns of you all. Now, what are some realistic Solutions????

OIC
25
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OIC 08/19/09 - 10:51 am
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Does anyone know if Stein is

Does anyone know if Stein is still receiving her Director of Public Safety pay even after taking a demotion. I am betting that she did not lose any pay.

OIC
25
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OIC 08/19/09 - 10:52 am
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What are the salaries of the

What are the salaries of the new director and lieutenant.

OIC
25
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OIC 08/19/09 - 11:02 am
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Money Saving Tip:

Money Saving Tip: Consolidate some of the schools. Have one Principal for some of these schools with a floating Vice Principal for each school under his/her area. One Principal for every five shcools would save a ton of money. Example: Five Elementary Schools could have the same School name while being on a different campus.

life
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life 08/19/09 - 11:12 am
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Interesting, OIC, but I

Interesting, OIC, but I wouldn't want by Asst. Principal floating. I would them more centralized and accessible.

JustMe
0
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JustMe 08/19/09 - 12:02 pm
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I understand that the sports

I understand that the sports program is funded separately by something else. Unfortunately it is not an account that you can draw on. Dr. Bedden is doing an excellent job. When is the state going to realize that it needs to cut funds in other places, not education!!!! The blame is the state, not the school systems. Maybe they need to start cutting in admin and give the money to the school systems.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 08/19/09 - 01:07 pm
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Taking away the tax free

Taking away the tax free weekends would be a hardship on a lot of people. The money saved in taxes makes a big difference for people on a tight budget. I guess people who have never done without wouldn't understand that. Find some other way to make up the shortfall without hurting the people that need it most. Sometimes I can't help but hear that phrase of that haughty and cold Queen of France: "Let them eat cake" when I read some of these responses. If you take into consideration that the word for cake in French was also common slang for excrement, you will understand why the people of France objected so extremely to that comment.

georgiastoryteller
0
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georgiastoryteller 08/19/09 - 01:35 pm
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Bedden needs to cut his pay

Bedden needs to cut his pay and let go of those 35+ year people at the board who make over 100,000 per year. THAT would make up the shortfall. TOo much admin on top and not enough help at the schools and at transportation. When will the BOE learn that privatization of their needs (food services, transportation, maintenance) would save MILLIONS?

lifelongresidient
0
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lifelongresidient 08/19/09 - 02:41 pm
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if sports funding comes from

if sports funding comes from other sources than the taxpayers then can someone please tell me where and what source. i am sure the new athletic venues at laney, hephzibah, josey and possibly butler are not funded by private or other sources. how about the buses and the bus drivers used to ferry the teams to their away games, or better yet if athletics where funded by other sources then why did butler high school solicit funds from the city commission for rings???. what entity pays for the maintenance and upkeep of the field and the people responsible??? or how about the insurance premiums paid to the insurance carrier for liability insurance that covers the athletic venues????

wcr250
71
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wcr250 08/19/09 - 05:05 pm
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Close those sewers down and

Close those sewers down and issue vouchers so the decent kids who want to learn can get an education

Whatthetruth
0
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Whatthetruth 08/19/09 - 05:13 pm
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Budget cuts and in the same

Budget cuts and in the same article the announcement of an appointment to a new position (Chief Stein was moved to another department). How many new positions have been created this year, during this financial crisis? If you close the total system down for the total three days, as Columbia County did, would you not save as much as if you continued to furlough teachers for more days… (Scratch that... teachers in RCSS are being forced to work on furlough days and made to feel guilty about the fact that they resent that they are having to work for free, so lets just call it pay cuts. I don't think the issue for most teachers is that the furloughs are necessary; it is the fact that they are being forced to work on furlough days. While those at Central office received the day off (an example - 4th of July week)

Whatthetruth
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Whatthetruth 08/19/09 - 05:14 pm
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As quoted from a previous

As quoted from a previous article, Superintendent Dana Bedden said he's been warned to look for more cuts in state funding in December or January on top of the $11 million already cut this budget year. That is not good news, especially since June sales tax revenues were down $500,000 from last June. So it's no wonder Dr. Bedden is in no mood for profane anonymous e-mails from teachers who object to the 15-minute daily furloughs he imposed in an effort to avoid pay cuts or layoffs.Dr. Bedden told the board he has held off announcing any more bad news until he knows what other hits the system will take. So when trustee Barbara Pulliam told him most of the teachers felt like 15-minute furloughs were "sort of like an insult to them," Dr. Bedden didn't mince words about how he felt about the nasty e-mails.He said he wouldn't want them teaching his children, and he'd tell them so to their faces."All that little anonymous, back-door, unprofessional stuff -- that says volumes about some of them, not to mention the ones who look me in the face and say, 'I need my money' and don't care about their peers," he said.

Whatthetruth
0
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Whatthetruth 08/19/09 - 05:15 pm
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I think Bedden's thoughts and

I think Bedden's thoughts and statements speaks volumes for how he feels and respects the teachers and board members of Richmond Co.

anotherday
46
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anotherday 08/19/09 - 07:36 pm
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Uuuhhhhhh...........he has a

Uuuhhhhhh...........he has a child at Augusta Christian.

just float
23
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just float 08/19/09 - 09:15 pm
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As a RCBOE teacher, I am

As a RCBOE teacher, I am looking at over $4000 coming out of my pay this year. The reduced workday is insulting because most teachers stay late, come in early and work at home....and its not just grading papers. It's very common and just part of the job. So when we were furloughed those days and told we would get the time off....15 minutes at a time....it was a joke. BTW baroness.....I'm all for dropping the tax free holidays. If 7% is going to make it or break it....the kid doesn't need the $200 Jordans. I'm spending MY money on pencils, paper and notebooks for the kids who walk in empty handed but in a spiffy new outfit....and easing down to the lunchroom for his free breakfast and lunch.....that he won't eat and throw in the trash. I love what I do but this is not a private industry. It is taxpayer funded....not employee funded. RAISE THE TAXES!

wonderwhygib
0
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wonderwhygib 08/19/09 - 10:02 pm
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I dont see the point in

I dont see the point in questioning why Beddens child goes to Augusta Christian. There is a reason and it was gone into some time ago. He has one child that goes to a RC School. Leave that alone. But why fill positions that have not been filled for so long. Safety department has made it without a Lieut. Why make one now??? It is because he is buddy buddy with Rountree. He wanted him for chief but did not have the support. So he sneaks him in.

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