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Fayette BoE splits 3-2 on budget

Presberg, Smith, Smola vote to use reserves to balance budget

The Fayette County Board of Education Tuesday night gave preliminary approval to the 2012-2013 budget that totals $177.34 million by using the entire $15 million fund balance from the current year that ends June 30.

The vote was split 3-to-2, with board members Marion Key and Bob Todd opposed. Chairman Leonard Presberg and members Terri Smith and Janet Smola voted in favor of the proposed budget. The final vote will come on June 18.

Comptroller Laura Brock at the May 31 budget workshop said the revenue projections for the 2012-2013 school year have not changed. Those revenues are expected to total $163.14 million, with $78.9 million coming from local ad valorem taxes, $81.39 million from the state and approximately $2.8 million from other revenue sources.

Expenditures in the proposed budget total $177.34 million. That represents $14.2 million in expenses over revenues for the 2012-2013 school year that begins in July. With a projected fund balance of $803,000 as of June 30, 2013 that leaves the school board with less than $1 million to offset the $14.2 million shortfall this time next year. Superintendent Jeff Bearden has noted on past occasions that it will likely take reducing staff to make up the difference.

If approved as it stands, the budget will be balanced by using the estimated $15 million fund balance expected to be available on June 30.

Having been discussed on May 31, the meeting Monday included essentially no discussion on the budget and went forward with a motion to give preliminary approval. It was in the run-up to the 3-2 vote that brought some discussion between board members.

Stating several reasons, Todd noted that he would not vote in favor of the proposed budget. Todd said preliminary information on the budget had been requested in November to give the board adequate time to study the proposal and respond to recommendations.

“We will spend all of our ($15 million) fund balance (adopting the proposed 2012-2013 budget) and there won’t be anything left for next year,” Todd said. “We don’t have preliminary projections on what it will take to make up the $14 million shortfall. I hope we can work on the process after July 1 so people will be informed.”

Todd also referenced the consensus agreement from the May 31 meeting to eliminate the school system’s contribution to employees’ life insurance and long-term disability policies. Those, along with the recent decision to eliminate other benefit supplements to employees as a cost-saving measure, amount to shifting the burden for a balanced budget on lower paid employees who are least able to afford those reductions, Todd said.

Key followed, also noting concerns that preceded her vote in opposition to the budget approval. The current proposal contains no school closures, no cost-cutting, no reserve fund and no projected plans for 2013-2014, she said.

Presburg disagreed, saying that Bearden, “Has been making suggestions all along,” adding that the board had gone through a six-month process of hearing issues. “I would have thought I would have heard something specific (from Todd and Key) before tonight.”

Bearden entered in the discussion at that point, referencing $6 million that had been added to the fund balance during the past year through measures such as not filling vacated staff positions.

“That strategy will continue over the next year,” Bearden said.

Bearden also noted other cost-saving measures impacting the 2013-2014 school year such as the upcoming decision over the closure of up to five schools and the possible outsourcing of custodial and transportation services. The largest cost-saving measure of them all, as Bearden has mentioned but has not elaborated on, is the elimination of a number of current staff positions.

“Our budget is 91 percent people. There’s no question that we’ll have to look at staffing across the board and tuitioning students (from other school systems),” Bearden said.

Bearden also referenced the reduction of approximately 80 staff for the upcoming school year while avoiding a reduction in force and the significant cuts in benefits.

“I believe the budget proposed in front of you is the way to go,” Bearden said.

Board member Janet Smola entered the discussion, saying, “We’ve been talking about this budget since last August.” Her comment was echoed by Presburg who said the board had been talking about the budget for months.

Key responded, saying the information pertaining to the budget had been provided in a piecemeal fashion.



Dondol's picture


Dondol's picture

Coming from the Whack, the Quack and the most Hated Man in Fayette county
this does not surprise me. These two Lame Duck Ladies (and I use the term
lightly) will do everything they can to spend every last dime that we have
before they ride off into the Democratic Sunset. By the time the Principal
at McIntosh gets trough we won't have to worry about a deficit at the rate
the teachers are leaving.


I read your comment above and the earlier ones you posted maligning the principal at McIntosh. Obviously, you have been listening to a self-serving and arrogant source.

The McIntosh principal is highly respected among school employees. However, there are a couple of prima donnas there that do not like to be held accountable for their actions. They think the rules do not apply to them and they prefer to hurl baseless insults from behind the cloak of anonymity. I suspect you were recruited by one of them to make your ridiculous comments.

Those individuals remind me of a screaming toddler - in their level of maturity, their persistence, their logic, and their volume. Amazing the noise that just a couple of infants can produce.

Interesting that you won't identify yourself. Are you a relative of one of those people? Are you just a clueless acquaintance?

I will not name the prima donnas or their position in a public forum. Unlike you, I subscribe to professional and ethical standards that will not allow me to do so. Unlike you, I know the facts.

I have/will continue to look elsewhere for employment! Fayette continues to spend frivolously and then makes cuts, cuts, and more cuts. This year, compared to any other, I know of more teachers that are planning on leaving Fayette county schools for better paying districts. You can only endure so much in cuts before you have to say enough is enough.
This county is flat out losing the ability to attract high-quality teachers because of their inability to maintain fiscal austerity. Here are the cuts that we have endured so far just this year:
1. 2.5% reduction in pay.
2. Eliminating the monthly $72 the county has paid toward health insurance.
3. Eliminating the monthly $22 the county has paid toward dental insurance.
4. Eliminating county paid life insurance benefits.
5. Eliminating county paid long-term disability insurance.
How much more can the good teachers of this county take before they start exiting in flocks? My prediction....not much.
Whether the public can see it now or not, your highly achieving education system is now losing great employees and it will not be long before this has a negative impact on student achievement in the classroom.
I write this post not to whine or complain…..I have a job and am happy. I just want to clarify just how much the county is/has taken from us to make sure the public in fully informed.

Concerned Citizen

G35 Dude's picture

I totally agree with you. But also think about the lunch room ladies and bus drivers. I think Bus drivers make about $11k a year. Think about the burden that these cuts will be to them. And after they (BOE) spend all of the reserves imagine what next year will bring. I don't know what the answer is but I don't like what I see for the future.

I should have included all county employees with this first post....sorry.

Concerned Citizen

2.5% reduction in pay. Boo hoo. Welcome to the real world sister! The private sector has experienced much higher cuts than that and pays much more toward health insurance.


Obviously, you know little about what teachers and other school district employees are enduring. I posted some information above. I am still awaiting your response.

Under the Obamaconomy, my salary and benefits has dropped far further than anything that you have quoted. So go tell someone that gives a flying eff about the plight of teachers. They don't come close to what people have suffered in the private sector. And remember- the teachers work for the citizens, not the other way around.

We all make choices in life. If they don't like their salary and benefits, they can find a different job or take on a second job. It's a free country.


What is your salary? What degrees do you hold? How much do you pay for health insurance? I asked you these and numerous questions. All of this is public info about the school district employees that you hold in such low regard. Why won't you answer the questions?

PTC Observer's picture

Just a point of order here patkebb, I believe that Grizz has told you he does not work for the government?

Therefore, it's none of your (our) business. However, what we pay to government workers is our business. These data should be published for all to see.

Hope you see the distinction?


What is your salary? What degrees do you hold? How much do you pay for health insurance? I asked you these and numerous questions. All of this is public info about the school district employees that you hold in such low regard. Why won't you answer the questions?

Because it's none of your business, wench. I'm not a public servant, so I don't have to share that information with you. Heck, even my co-workers don't know what I make.

Again, it's all about choices. If they don't like their salaries and benefits published, then they shouldn't have become public SERVANTS.
Get a grip, wench.

I never said they don't like their salaries published, I merely stated that they are public record. Also, you said in an earlier post that teachers should seek jobs elsewhere if they don't like what is occurring here. THAT is the point! Fayette teachers and others will seek jobs where the pay and benefits are better. Furthermore, the best and brightest seeking jobs in the metro area will never apply here, they will seek positions elsewhere.

Bless your heart. Let me guess, you voted for Obama. I was smart enough not to become a school teacher and then come on this blog complaining about my wage and benefits to my employer.

Cyclist's picture

There are those that just don't get it.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.


You all need some perspective!
I chose this job and the consequences for having the job falls on my shoulders. I could have been anything else, but I was drawn to this proffession for lots of reasons and I really love what I do. If I didn't, I'd go do something else. Now, if my salary is sometimes subject to the vagaries of a worldwide economy, so be it. Everyone elses salary is in some way, why should I be protected when no one else is? The fact is that my salary will be $53,172.00 next year for a t-5 masters degree with 9 yrs exp. you can look up salary schedules here
and I get that for working 175 days. Which is about $38/hr. How many other people out there can say that they make $38/hr in this economy? I feel super extra lucky just to HAVE a job in this economy with great benefits. So I have to pay a little more for them? I think I still pay less, even after the increase, than most people do for the same bennies. Who exactly is going to sympathize with me if I start to whine about it?
Now, I dont think I get paid too much money, but I dont think I get paid too little either. I didn't become a teacher bacause I though it was going to make me a billionaire and anyone who took this job to get rich is an idiot anyway.
Let me also say that NO ONE teaching in FayCo has lost their job since these cuts began. Saying that their has been lost jobs is an outright misstatement of the facts. ALL cuts have been made though attrition, meaning that when someone moves/leaves/quits/retires on their own, that position is simply not filled with a new employee.
I hate to throw PATKEBB under the bus here but I really dont think she understands what its like in the private sector or how good we have it as teachers. One of the others said she was applying in 5 other counties. Good luck, youre going to need it. Between Gwinett and Cobb alone they have slashed over 500 teaching positions. And new kids are graduating every year. Why would they hire you for a job at 50K that they can give to a new bachelors degree for 20K/yr less? In todays budget conscious world do you really think school boards arent taking that into consideration? My advice? If you have a job right now teaching in this county, be grateful, and hang on to it for dear life.

Wow!! You've got it made, baby! I worked 190 days last year. Only missing 3.5 days when I got sick which should make the bear happy (seeing as how I work for him)!!! Oh wait...I live in the county, pay taxes in the county and have kids in school...I guess I work for myself!! hahaha!!

Now, I am also guessing that you are NOT counting teacher work days as days you must work? At my school we work on those days. Many even stay past 4:00 and very few head out to lunch. I know at some schools those days are play days, but not at all schools.

Oh, by the way, some have lost their jobs, it's just that they were given an option to resign so it doesn't show that they lost their job. Cuts were made. You don't talk much with your coworkers, do you? But surprise, surprise...the teachers I know that were "let go" secured jobs in other counties and are making more money! And I'm not talking Clayton County either!!

Just call me old and jaded and ready to go to nursing school! Good money..always in demand...and when you clock out you go home!! Seriously, though, as a FC citizen I thank you for your humble-ness. It is kind of cute. Well, have a great summer! I will be working my p/t jobs but at least I don't have to schedule them around my f/t job as I do during the school year! Que sera, sera, right?

I moved this post to the top

All Smiles's picture

I am employed by a large group which has nothing to do with teaching. I pay $178.00 bi-weekly for health insurance for my family and have no dental insurance. I pay, at a group rate, my own life insurance and disability. To add, I took a 25 % pay cut 2 years ago and have remained at this same rate. Teachers have one of the most important jobs, however, no one is immune!

What is your annual salary? What degrees to you hold? How many years of experience do you have?

Isn't being in the private sector great? We don't have to share diddly squat regarding salary and education with nosey wenches.

All Smiles's picture

I hold a bachelors degree and I have 15 over year’s experience. My salary is now $55,000/yr and I don’t get summers off, nor do I get Christmas/Spring breaks.

Veritas's picture

So you get paid roughly 5,000 dollars more than a 16 yr teacher with a bachelors degree and as much as one with 21 yrs experience. Also if ,god forbid , you lose your job you can collect an unemployment check, teachers can not. This ridiculous nonsense back and forth can go on forever. There are perks and pitfalls to every career choice. The point is the cuts are really hurting those that can least afford it. ie bus drivers, custodians, and staff. Do you want to go tit for tat with their salaries and benefits?

All Smiles's picture

Keep in mind Verita, I sure didn't start the whining!!! I could just hear it coming from my computer and had to respond as the teachers still have it pretty darn good as I pay a heck of a lot more for my insurance and I can't get a teachers rate on a home mortage! You are so correct, we can go tit for tat with this subject so please tell your teacher friends to hold down the whining, or they might have to bring me a try a cheese to go with the 'whine'.

Veritas's picture

Yes the teachers are whining a bit much ... But you are sorely misinformed as there are no special mortgage rates for teachers any more than for anyone else.
In as far as insurance premiums their premiums from what I've researched are on par with what those in the private sector pay for similar coverages.

We pay the same premiums as those in the private sector, and last time I checked, I have the same kind of mortgage as everyone else.

Concerned Citizen

Does Fayette County divide the salary into 12 equal payments? Teachers are paid for 10 months a year!! Most other salaried professions are paid for 12 months a year. In some districts, the payments are divided by 12 - but most teachers throughout the country are UNPAID for summer break.

having your teaching salary divided into 12 equal parts is the default pay style for all salaried employees. You actually need special permission from the super himself to get it otherwise. It is very rare for someone to get their pay in 10 months and they usually only do it for someone whom the know for a fact is leaving at the end of the term. The 12 month pay thing is in the 12 month contract you sign.

Teachers go UNPAID when not working! How unfair! Someone should have told them that before they accepted the job! Otherwise, how were they supposed to know?

I understand times are tough and cuts need to be made. But let us make fair cuts across the board. At your place of business did the workers and executives/administrators both take cuts? It seems like we only take cuts from the bottom and the county office is immune.
You also must understand that teachers generally have decent health/dental as one of the benefits. Some would argue that this coverage offsets the lack of salary in education. It is one of the things that attracted me to the profession and to now have these benefits taken away hurts the monthly cash flow we have.
For those who say the teachers won't go elsewhere...think again. I have already filled out apps for 5 other counties and have 2 interviews next week. Your good county teachers will be leaving in order to be treated fairly by a different county who can balance the budget without taking pay and benefits away from all the employees who actually work with the kids.

Concerned Citizen

3 years ago my salary was cut by a 1/3, with loss of all vacation days, and holidays, then it was cut again, then the company went out of business. So all in all, you can cry and wail, but compared to many, you're still sitting pretty high on the hog.

I'm not here to wail and complain and I don't believe I've done so. I have simply informed the readers of the draconian cuts taking place at the BOE and the disparity with how the cuts are being implemented. Also, I wanted to let the public know that local teachers are looking elsewhere and don’t be surprised when the quality of education in the county drops. The old saying goes, “you get what you pay for” and it rings true here.

Concerned Citizen

Fayette County has always paid less then the surrounding counties, as a couple teachers told me at one time, "we don't teach here for the money". Make what you want of that statement, but if you weren't complaining, what would you call it?

Simply letting the citizens know of the cuts taking place. Never once did I say I didn't enjoy the job or the people I work with. In fact, I'm not complaining about how much money we DID make or the benefits we DID receive. I was very happy with the compensation package that Fayette county offered, even though it is less compared to surrounding counties. It is difficult to plan for the future when you don't know what to expect from your employer.

Concerned Citizen

Well duh, you think the school system is going out of business? The fact is while you are "informing" of all your lost bennies, in the private sector, people are actually losing their jobs. All in all, the teachers plight isn't sounding all that dire to me.

opusman's picture

what do you think happens to all of those jobs...custodians , staff and teachers DUH !!!!
Sounds pretty dire to me!
Teachers and staff are losing their jobs all over just like the private sector!

"Invincibility lies in the defense. The possibility of victory in the attack."

Oh silly me, I must have missed all those schools they closed here in Fayette County, by all means, give me a list.

Jobs were lost without schools being closed. It is difficult to carry on a civilized conversation with those who misinformed. In fact, it is impossible.

Concerned Citizen

Veritas's picture

You might want to take that spare change and invest in a reading comprehension tutor. I said WHEN duh.... they close schools. Fayette county is going to close schools " Bearden also noted other cost-saving measures impacting the 2013-2014 school year such as the upcoming decision over the closure of up to five schools and the possible outsourcing of custodial and transportation services. The largest cost-saving measure of them all, as Bearden has mentioned but has not elaborated on, is the elimination of a number of current staff".... A list for you aTyrone elementary, Brooks Elementary, Hood , Fayette and Fayette Middle.... OH ..don't forget your sign ..

At this point, it's all just rhetoric. Bearden does only what the board wants, and all the board wants is to be re-elected. So all in all, get back to me when something happens.

Since I am professional, I won't stoop to your level and insult others with my posts. If you want to have a conversation it is best to keep your condescending comments to yourself to keep the flow and exchange of ideas going.

Concerned Citizen

Which part was the insult?

Yougo ahead and move--I bet your stress level will go up a lot when you move to one of those higher paying counties. Tried to teach Bricks before? Been totally ignored by parents before? Move, and you'll experience both without a doubt!

Yes, I taught in the inner city for 3 years. I really enjoyed the challenge and the relationships that I was able to create with the kids. With the prospect of receiving higher pay/benefits, switching counties is an option that is on the table for all teachers in the county. Just don't be surprised when Fayette county turns into another casualty (similar to our surrounding counties) in regards to the lack of quality education provided.
If cuts need to be made, that is OK. We understand we are living in a time of fiscal austerity. Just make sure the cuts are fair to all employees.

Concerned Citizen

All Smiles's picture

I doubt the ones in the ivory towers at my place of business took cuts. Maybe their bonus was smaller. We were never told, I just doubt it looking at their cuff links............

NUK_1's picture

Unfortunately, your bosses are elected people who for well over a decade or more have been totally irresponsible and downright clueless. You also have a Finance Dept at the BOE that is a complete joke and has been for years. The blind relying on the blind for information has brought about these cuts, but it's not from anything recent...this started years ago.

The "bright side" of this for you is that a responsible BOE would have imposed even deeper cuts this upcoming year instead of emptying the 15mil reserve fund to balance the budget and putting off the harshest cuts and school closings yet another year. That gives you time to head for the alleged greener pastures elsewhere. Unfortunately for you, police and fire types, your skills are not transferable to the private sector as well as most other professions so your choices are sort of limited. Deal with the fools you know or the ones you don't at another government that is also subject to change at anytime from clueless voters.

Instead of being prudent and trying to get further cuts now and not making next year even more draconian, the cowards at the BOE(and Bearden especially)passed the buck yet again. Maybe it was due to Smith and Smola both being up for re-election, though Smola realized finally that the "Smola" name in FC is a little below dirt after the terrible job her arrogant and hopelessly stupid husband did as Mayor in Tyrone and the disaster she helped create at the BOE.

Thanks for the post. You speak the truth.

Concerned Citizen

I suspect, as is often the case, the system has too many "managers" and too few "leaders". Question the need for "Asst "this" and Asst "that", when those positions put a huge drain on the budet. We truly need a financial wizard (perhaps Dr. Marchman is the ticket) to jump in the middle of that mess and clean it up!


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