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Millions in cuts facing Fayette BOE

There is just no telling what the Fayette County Board of Education might come up with in terms of a budget for FY 2011 that begins July 1. But based on the current financial outlook and recommendations from Superintendent John DeCotis that budget, when tentatively approved by the board in mid-June, will have to have another $6.4 million shaved off in addition to the more than $6 million he recommended Tuesday night.

School system Comptroller Laura Brock at the May 4 meeting told board members they could see revenues next year totaling $172.1 million, an amount down significantly from the $185.5 million where the school system began the year last July. But over the course of the year the general fund budget had been trimmed to about $179 million, as of April, through various cost-cutting measures that included a 4.5 percent pay cut to school system staff that generated approximately $5.5 million in savings.

Brock’s figures showed that regardless the previous cuts, falling revenues would still leave the school system short several million dollars. Brock also said the school system is still projecting a June 30 fund balance of $14.9 million by virtue of the various cost cuts.

DeCotis on May 4 recommended a relatively wide array of cuts designed to generate $6.1 million in savings. Among the categories were: a $2.144 million hit to various school system departments; $1.507 million to non-departmental areas; the savings of $132,000 by eliminating middle school resource officers; $63,000 in transportation by consolidating some bus routes and charging a $5 fee for sports and high school band participation; and $2.12 million in staffing reductions in central office, elementary, middle and high schools based on attrition and student population figures.

DeCotis was prepared to address additional cost savings measures that included personnel reductions, decreasing the school year by four days, increasing staff benefits contributions, reducing additional supplements, combining middle and high school bus routes and charging tuition for the children of employees that attend Fayette schools. Those issues, however, were not discussed.

The discussion turned to Chairman Terri Smith initiating a conversation that centered on the desire to be able to return the 4.5 percent pay cut to employees that came about last year “under the pressure to build the fund balance.”

Her comment led to a lengthy discussion on that issue, but no outcome. Smith in her comments did note that she likely threw Brock an unexpected curve in bring up the issue.

Bottom line, the board can accept DeCotis’ recommendations to cut more than $6 million from areas across the school system, but they will still need to come up with another $6.4 million in cuts, either by reducing the year end fund balance or, as Smith said, by other means.

The board will need to adopt a tentative budget in mid-June and approve it by June 29.



grassroots's picture

$8900 per student times 25 students per classroom=$222,000 per classroom. Where's are money going? Not the teacher. See the other side at
They Spend What?; and the Trailer for the new documentary Cartel: about local school corruption across America at a collection of videos exposing local school corruption. Why do you think those attorney's are suing the charter school in Newnan? Thugs! Give our kids and parents a choice. Would you want a court appointed attorney if your child has 12 years at stake or a professional attorney who has a great reputation due to his or her record.

Where's "are" money going?

Is that you under yet another nom de plume???:)

Busy Bee's picture

Are money needs to go towards teaching spelling and grammar.

The ill proposed and voted upon "technology" splost is one of the problems. Schools are getting excessive new electronics while having to cut teachers. Give me chalk and a board, and I can teach my a__ off. The fancy stuff is nice, but not needed.

I have heard that the board is considering cutting ALL middle school sports. Has anyone else heard this? What a shame if that happens. Just add an extra 15-20 lbs to the average weight of middle school students.

I have also heard that there will be NO part timers. I know that last year they also said that but several coaches were given special permission to stay. I am a big proponent of athletics BUT that just isn't right to lay off a full time "educator" and keep a part-time "coach".

The AJC reported today that all over Metro Atlanta students are crying over losing their teachers. Now that the students’ attention is focused on this issue, this would be a good time for a lesson in economics. Teach them why the teachers are being laid off. Teach them that irresponsible politicians like Smith & Smola of the Fayette BOE spent too much money. Teach them, there is a limit to reckless spending and serious consequences.

You think the students will be taught this spending lesson? Of course not, the message being sent is that mean old conservatives are firing our teachers. Vote Democrat when you get 18.

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