UPDATE: School board OKs budget

Pay will be cut and employees will be furloughed, but the Richmond County Board of Education avoided laying anyone off today when it gave final approval to its fiscal year 2010 budget.

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 year’s 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 don’t 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 wouldn’t be fair to penalize these employees two years in a row, especially if someone else’s 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 system’s complete budget presentation, go to www.rcboe.org.

FURLOUGH SCHEDULE

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.

DaysStaff Members IncludedFurlough Dates
183ParaprofessionalsFull Day 8/4-5/09 Half Day 9/16, 10/20, 11/10, 4/29
190Clerical, Instructional Coaches, Media Clerks (paraprofessionals), Secretary, Nurses8/6, 10/21, 1/19, 2/15
190School Nutrition Program Managers9/4, 2/12, 2/15, 3/17
190School Nutrition Program Assistant Managers8/3, 9/8, 2/15, 3/17
193Data Entry Clerks7/29-7/30, 9/16, 11/10
200Elementary Assistant Principals, Elementary Clerical (1), Elementary Principals, Assistant Principals/CTAE, Middle School Assistant Principals7/24-7/27, 5/28-6/1
210Consultants, Coordinators, High School Clerical (1), High School Instructional Assistant Principal (1), Middle School Clerical (1), Middle School Principal7/17, 7/20-7/22
248Consultants, HS Clerical (1), High School Principals7/7-7/10

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