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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jus sayin
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jus sayin 08/19/09 - 10:09 pm
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CUT BEDDEN'S PAY!! Get rid of

CUT BEDDEN'S PAY!! Get rid of the two new hires and get hall monitor's, remember them. Everybody hated them but they would tell on you in a heartbeat, besides kids know more about their peers than an officer/deputy ever will.

I spy
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I spy 08/19/09 - 10:23 pm
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Bedden comes off pretending

Bedden comes off pretending as if he is really concern about NOT laying anyone off, but in reality, he's only concern about his image. Don't worry Augustan, once he's done screwing our system up, he will move on.

whatthefudgebrownies
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whatthefudgebrownies 08/19/09 - 11:05 pm
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Why not cut the special ed

Why not cut the special ed department? Is there really a need for those teachers since all the kids are being thrown into the general education class...oh wait..NCLB..it makes no sense..leave behind the majority for the sake of the minority..and by that I mean..throw in about four or five sped kids in a regular ed classroom and forget about the 17 or 18 that can learn because the general ed teacher needs to cater to the needs of the sped kids while the sped teachers walk around and peek in the room every now and then...or maybe we need to make the parents pay for education..perhaps then we would have more kids who value education and more parents who value education and our scores would rise..since nowadays we are more concerned with teaching a test and not skills that will last a lifetime. It's not just RC (maybe) it's politicians who haven't stepped a foot in the classroom to see that these silly laws they pass look good on paper but are a disaster in the real world. With all that is happening teaching is becoming a less desirable field of study..already teachers are overworked and underpaid and now it's even worse

crazy7209
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crazy7209 08/20/09 - 02:27 am
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whatthefudgebrownies....as a

whatthefudgebrownies....as a mother of a special ed child i resent your comment. Let's see if i understand what youare saying...kids with learning disabilities don't deserve an education? I pay taxes and I own property...therefore I help pay the salary for my child to get extra help...atleast I'm not a renter who has never paid school taxes. Last year my taxes increased by $564.18 and 489.37 was increase in school taxes. So lay off the speacial ed students.

wonderwhygib
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wonderwhygib 08/20/09 - 06:43 am
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There are kids who need the

There are kids who need the special ed services. No doubt. What needs to be done is to stop giving special ed children special consideration when they break the rules. EBD (emotional behavior disorder) children are not given the same dicipline as non-special ed children. If you are going to put special ed children in mainstream, great; but also give them the same punishment as non-special ed when they break the rules. Too many children are give the special ed label when they should not be.

anotherday
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anotherday 08/20/09 - 01:38 pm
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I will thell you why it was

I will thell you why it was done wonderwhygib- his child is spec ed and I am happy she gets the help she needs but not all of RC children can get those services. There are sentries at the gate of the Special Ed door guarding like Ft Knox. BTW, the money is not in the same pot as the general fund. Try and it cut it and see what happens but you sure can play with it if no one is wiser. Another BTW, do we even use the word- mainstrem anymore?

corgimom
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corgimom 08/20/09 - 03:07 pm
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"I'm spending MY money on

"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." Me too, me too. I bought 70 glue sticks, 100 spiral-bound notebooks, erasers, 50 boxes of crayons- and this is just August. There are already 23 kids enrolled in the class. I still have to buy breakfast items for the kids whose parents don't feed them and bring them into school late. Kindergarteners cannot function without breakfast.

anotherday
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anotherday 08/20/09 - 04:22 pm
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I love to hear about the

I love to hear about the people always saying cut the breakfast and lunch program when money is short. People did not understand, breakfast is FREE for ALL children reguardless of income from Federal funds and lunch might as well be.
corgimom- I understand your plight, you cannot run on an empty stomach because Mom could not get up on time or provide the right items for little Billy to complete his work. I always buy pencils, tissues, sanitizer, and paper for my kids rooms and it is never enough.

disssman
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disssman 08/20/09 - 04:34 pm
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Their transportation problems

Their transportation problems would decrease if they would quit the insane stopping at every house. We all know stop and go is what eats gas. Why not have one pickup at each block? I am sure the kids can walk a block, can't they? Another suggestion is send all busses across the river to fill up. Its usually 10 cents cheaper aver there and that could equate to a 6 - 8 % savings. The Sheriff should fill up across the river also.

just float
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just float 08/20/09 - 07:32 pm
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Let the parents feed them

Let the parents feed them breakfast at home and use those federal dollars for EDUCATION.

anotherday
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anotherday 08/20/09 - 07:53 pm
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It comes from the USDA not

It comes from the USDA not from Ed program- I really wish people would research this one. It is an old arguement!

whatthefudgebrownies
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whatthefudgebrownies 08/20/09 - 08:44 pm
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crazy709...i'm not at all

crazy709...i'm not at all saying that children with special needs do not deserve an education..what i'm saying is since the regular ed teacher is going to have to teach them, then why is there a need for a special ed teacher when they really don't do anything? Reality is, SOME, not all, special ed children have no need to learn in the classroom, there are actually some of them who would benefit more from learning life skills i.e. how to make a bed, how to fix a sandwich..SOME of them will not benefit from learning the standards set by the state...so my comment is not towards the children, i'm saying why are we paying special ed teachers when they are not doing anything? In case you haven't noticed there are very few schools that have self contained classes where the special ed kids are ACTUALLY given the services they need, they are now thrown into a regular ed class and the regular ed teacher has to teach students with no disabilities on their level as well as teach the ones with disabilities..all i'm saying is they are working the s@$% out of teachers, yet taking things away..like pay. So, maybe your child attends a school that is providing for his/her needs but i have seen

whatthefudgebrownies
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whatthefudgebrownies 08/20/09 - 08:49 pm
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plenty of kids who are being

plenty of kids who are being LEFT BEHIND for the sake of No Child Left Behind..and yes I still think it is unfair to those regular kids to have to simply learn to "cope" with the fact that there may be one or two children in the classroom who on any given day will sit in their seat and cry, excuse me scream, or hit their head on the desk or do whatever..it's distracting to a CLASSROOM. Being at home is different because that's normal to your environment but when you get kids who are not accustomed to that, the teacher loses their attention, therefore hendering their learning..so i stand behind my statement earlier..yes they should be educated but they shouldn't be thrown into the regular classroom when there are special ed teachers who have gone to school and trained to work with children with disabilities..nowadays all they do is walk around the school buildings..so please tell me how can a special ed teacher help your child if they are never interacting with them?

stupid
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stupid 08/20/09 - 09:02 pm
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Have any of you been to

Have any of you been to Butler? It looks like a third world country, except for the new gym and office. Oh, and track. Go take a look. Then wonder about spending priorities.

whatthefudgebrownies
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whatthefudgebrownies 08/20/09 - 09:04 pm
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I'll bet you can survey all

I'll bet you can survey all the teachers in RC county and ask why they are teaching..the majority of them would not say it is because of pay. Yes saying teachers can leave 15 minutes early is a joke because you can look at any time sheet record and see that none of them arrive at the start of the school day, they are always there earlier, and none of them leave 15 minutes early. When you have to sit in a meeting until nearly 5 o'clock, no that is not right but teachers are made to feel guilty if they speak up and say that they are officially off the clock. It is as if society expects educators to not have a life outside of school, many people schedule appointments in the evenings or make other plans, but often have to reschedule their private life, while no one is doing anything to try to work with them. It's ridiculous. Now I realize why statistics show that a large percentage of graduates quit within the first five years. If you were abused on a job, wouldn't you quit to? If someone sexually harassed you, wouldn't you take action? Teachers are being raped.

happy
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happy 08/21/09 - 01:15 am
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The bottom line is that RCBOE

The bottom line is that RCBOE is not doing anything to save money. They are going to have to think outside the box. While it might not be popular, other counties are going to a 4 day week and work longer each day which would save on gas and electricity. The 15 minutes is a joke because buses often do not get to the school until well after ( 30-45 minutes) after school lets out and the teachers have to supervise the students well past the end of their work day. Teachers have been given no supplies.( what other job requires you to buy your own pens, printer cartridges etc? )

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 08/21/09 - 07:45 pm
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just float, there are some

just float, there are some students whose parents are not going to make much more than $4000 this year. I just can't gather up my sympathy for teachers that make more than most of their students parents do. Simplify. You don't have to have all those gadgets to teach the subjects if you actually know your subjects. Pencil and paper used to work just fine.

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 08/21/09 - 07:49 pm
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As far as the long hours,

As far as the long hours, teachers know what they were getting into when they take the job, and should have planned accordingly. If it doesn't pay you well enough or leave enough time for the job and a family, pick one or the other.

just float
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just float 08/22/09 - 01:23 pm
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baroness.. You think my

baroness.. You think my salary should be commensurate with those of the parents? Wow. PLEASE share that at the next faculty meeting at your child's school.

Whatthetruth
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Whatthetruth 08/22/09 - 08:11 pm
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I agree with you happy....

I agree with you happy.... Baroness, let me ask you what value do you put on teachers? do you think they should be paid as the professionals they are? Your opinion is truly astonishing... Teachers were already underpaid, overworked and unappreciated. Richmond CO. is the only district in the state that is furloughing and forcing the teachers to work despite not being paid. From what I understand, RCBOE teachers will be furloughed for more than 10 days by December. Yet, new positions are being created and filled at the Central office monthly... I don't understand what everyone is thinking... if All teachers were to call in sick just one day... the county would come to a stand still... there would be no one to baby sit the children.... and so on.... It time for teachers to unite and drastic measures need to be taken.... NOW

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 08/24/09 - 06:47 pm
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Frankly, that is NOT my

Frankly, that is NOT my opinion, I just wanted to give teachers some food for thought. There was a time when spinsters and bachelors were the teachers, there was not time or resources for most people to have a full-time teaching position AND raise a family. I would like to encourage teachers, in these hard times, to be thankful for what they have, considering many of their students parents are having to survive on far less than what they are making and don't even have benefits. I wouldn't wish that on anybody, especially teachers. I'm just tired of the whining. Teachers salaries are being paid by taxpayers, too. It would nice for there to be a little appreciation for that, it shouldn't be taken for granted.

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