Columbia County schools face funding drop, will cut jobs

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Though they will open a new school this year, Columbia County school officials intend to operate the system with less funding.

Due to state budget cuts, the school system will receive about $3.5 million less in operating capital next school year than the current year, Superintendent Charles Nagle told the school board today during a study session.

“We have been in a year unlike any other,” he said.

Mr. Nagle proposed an about $173 million budget for the upcoming school year, compared to an about $176.4 million budget this year.

Determined to balance the budget, Mr. Nagle said he and his staff started preparing it in October. Typically, work doesn’t start on a new budget until January, he said.

Officials cut more than 100 positions to save about $5.5 million in payroll expenditures.

“I’m not proud of the cuts we had to make ... but we had a tough year,” Mr. Nagle said.

Many of the cuts came through attrition, as a result of increasing class sizes and by eliminating some part-time employees.

“Every full-time employee contracted with the school system has received a contract (to come back),” Mr. Nagle told the board.

Also, the budget included $1.872 million in raises.

Still, the cuts may not be enough, Mr. Nagle warned.

Gov. Sonny Perdue should make a decision Friday whether or not he intends to include millions in federal stimulus funding as part of the state allotment for school systems, Mr. Nagle said. If he chooses to not use the stimulus funding, Mr. Nagle said more cuts may be required.

“It’s just difficult to present a budget without knowing what your revenue is going to be,” he said.

The school board will meet again May 12, to further discuss the budget.

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School positions cut

- 38 teachers

- 28 para-professionals

- 4 vocational education paraprofessionals

- 4 career specialists

- 8 middle school clerical aids

- 4 instructional technology specialists

- 4 technical supports specialists

- 8 middle school graduation coaches

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115,

or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.

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padgett1998
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padgett1998 05/05/09 - 12:06 pm
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OK, ??? So our kids r

OK, ??? So our kids r supposed to learn all that they should be learning with less resources? Just how is that supposed to work out for good?? The lower grades greatly need paras in their classes to help the kids, right now they have 19 -20 kids per 1st grade, with the cuts just how big are the classes expected to be? I am very concerned and wondering where all our tax money is going and who is gouging the state government..

padgett1998
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padgett1998 05/05/09 - 12:51 pm
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I find it quite amazing that

I find it quite amazing that in reviewing the list of positions cut, none of which are administrative, they are removing the direct link between a great education and our children!!!

SHOCKER1
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SHOCKER1 05/05/09 - 01:10 pm
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You think these cuts are

You think these cuts are bad???????? Hop on over to SC and see the mess they are in!

imho1
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imho1 05/05/09 - 01:11 pm
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Wow! the Columbia County

Wow! the Columbia County School system must have the exact number of county administrative office personell required. I imagine the paraproffessionals and clerical aides salaries are what were causing the budget problems.

Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 05/05/09 - 02:36 pm
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Several of ya'll are hitting

Several of ya'll are hitting right around the head on this one! Go to www.ccboe.net site and look around until you see the phone directory section for system admin. There you will see how many employees are in the top-heavy administrative offices! And those are just the ones who have an office with a phone! The bottom line that everyone is seeing in this article is that ALL the cuts are occurring too close to the students, who are the ones who need the support. Mr. Nagle, if you want to make the tough choices, then be a man and make the cuts closer to YOUR own office! I hate it that anyone has to lose their jobs, but you have to be fair about it and you aren't! Believe me, the people in your administration..some of those VERY close to you...feel they are untouchable when it comes to losing their job! Oh, well...maybe the worst education-governor this state has ever had will pony up with the money and do the right thing for once.

disssman
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disssman 05/05/09 - 02:46 pm
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Could someone tell me what a

Could someone tell me what a "middle school graduation coach"is and why the county needs obviously 8 less than before?

disssman
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disssman 05/05/09 - 02:48 pm
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I almost forgot, I thought

I almost forgot, I thought this was the upwardly mobile rich folks county. Shouldn't be a problem scrapping up that little bit of change to keep their high levels of education on-going. Or is the county filled with wannabe rich who are really house rich and money poor?

workingmom
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workingmom 05/05/09 - 03:11 pm
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disssman, did you read the

disssman, did you read the article? The money is being cut from the state budget. Times are tough everywhere, with Columbia County being no exception. We have excellent teachers that will, no doubt, do whatever is necessary to ensure quality education for the children.

justthefacts
24950
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justthefacts 05/05/09 - 06:45 pm
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disssman with his always

disssman with his always consistant wealth envy comments. Hey, disssman, work harder. Maybe you can provide better for YOUR family.

jaschild
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jaschild 05/05/09 - 08:30 pm
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Graduation coaches, from what

Graduation coaches, from what I can assess is someone who is a substitute for deadbeat parents. Although paras etc are getting cut, they will be the ones depended on to fill in when teachers are absent. Making the same measly pay while expected to fulfill the job of certified teachers - bounced around from class to class..is this what the children deserve?

Asitisinaug
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Asitisinaug 05/05/09 - 09:11 pm
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Although I certianly agree

Although I certianly agree that our youth deserve the best education possible, I also don't agree with spending money that we don't have. Therefore, we need to look at what other services can/should be cut from the federal, state and local budgets as education, public safety and infrastructure should be the primary objectives of our government along with National Security from the Feds. 95% of all other governement spending can and should be cut out or greatly controled and limited. CCBOE has an excellent Superintendent and fine BOE elected officials and has kept administrative positions greatly under control for the size of the system. Many of these administrators that people love to simply dismiss and those who aren't doing anything because they aren't in the classroom are the ones who write the curriculum, ensure we go after available grants and help to ensure funding is available as much as possible to provide for safe and secure schools thereby allowing the teachers to teach. Tough times call for tough decisions and thus far Mr. Nagle is making excellent decisions to recomend to the BOE who will make the final decisions. Do like SC, have local businesses come up with $$.

class1
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class1 05/05/09 - 09:58 pm
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It took a lot of effort to

It took a lot of effort to lower the class sizes during the past years, now in one year class size is not important anymore.

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