During a special called meeting, the board voted 6-2 in favor of the $256 million spending package, which overcame a projected $24.5 million shortfall.
Teachers, counselors, media specialists, other 190-day certified employees and bus drivers will have their salary reduced the equivalent of four days pay. All other employees will be furloughed for four days, closing the school system the week of July 5-10. A furlough day is a mandated, unpaid vacation day.
Employees whose salaries were lowered during last years budget process are exempted from the furloughs and pay cuts.
It was found then that some hourly employees in maintenance and transportation were being paid for more days than they actually worked. This was corrected, but board members disagreed today over whether they should be cut again this year.
I dont think I can support a budget unless we put them back in and treat them like everybody else, board member Jack Padgett said before voting against the budget.
Joe Scott was the other dissenting vote.
I have some serious philosophical differences with the budget as it stands, Mr. Scott said.
Board President Marion Barnes said it wouldnt be fair to penalize these employees two years in a row, especially if someone elses error resulted in their being overpaid and they are already some of the lowest paid employees in the school system.
The budget also cut dozens of positions out of the budget. That includes 43 teaching positions cut as a result of increasing class size by one or two students.
Richmond County Superintendent Dana Bedden said most of these positions are unfilled. Employees in filled positions will be offered other jobs in the school system as long as their certification matches the open job.
In a separate action, the school board also approved a measure allowing employees close to retirement to be paid their full salary. They then would donate the amount of pay they were cut back to the school system. This would prevent the cuts from affecting the amount they will receive in retirement.
To see the school systems complete budget presentation, go to www.rcboe.org.
The furlough schedule is organized according to the length of the employee's contract.
Teachers, counselors, media specialists, other 190-day certified employees and bus drivers will not be furloughed. They will have pay cuts equivalent to four furlough days.