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Fayette School Board grapples with cost-cutting tactics

For a school system that brings in $163 million but spends $177 million, it is not surprising that the search is on for ways to cut expenses and increase revenues a year from now. 

With little fund balance expected next June 30, Superintendent Jeff Bearden on Monday night presented a variety of cost-saving options for consideration by the Fayette County Board of Education to implement in time for the 2013-2014 school year.

 

Among those items on the expense side were reducing staff, reducing pay, closing schools, eliminating assistant principals, parapros and middle school athletics and outsourcing custodial services. And on the revenue side, Bearden surfaced the idea of out-of-county students and a referendum that would raise the school millage rate beyond the legal maximum.

 
BoE cost-cutting ideas
 
• Close up to 5 schools and fully utilize Rivers Elementary
 
• Outsource school janitorial services
 
• Cut up to 14 locally-funded assistant principals
 
• Through attrition cut or combine central office positions
 
• Eliminate all middle school athletic programs
 
• Eliminate all first-grade parapros
 
• Either make salary cuts or institute “shut-down days”
 
• Eliminate local funds for pre-K
 
• Combine middle school and high school bus routes
 
 
Revenue-raising ideas
 
• Voter referendum to allow school tax rate to rise above state cap of 20 mills
 
• Allow out-of-county students to pay tuition to attend Fayette schools
 
 
The list of cost-saving ideas supplied by Bearden was broken down in terms of “recommendations,” “other possibilities” and revenue ideas for 2013-2014. The “recommendations” came from Bearden while the “other possibilities” suggestions came from members of the community.
 
Though no decisions were to be made Monday night and though the presentation was followed by few suggestions by the board, Bearden after the meeting said both his recommendations and those from the community all on the table for further discussion. Further discussions on the cost-saving measures will continue in the coming months.
 
The recommendations section list included maximizing savings and efficiencies, school closures, outsourcing custodial services, continuing to reduce and combine positions at the county office and continuing the process of staff reduction in all employment categories through attrition.
 
By maximizing savings and efficiencies Bearden was referencing the monitoring of all vacancies and filling only those positions that are critical to the school system. The recommendation also included being efficient with energy and purchases. Bearden noted that the school system last year increased the fund balance by $7.2 million by using these approaches.
 
Citing school closures, Bearden said each closing would save approximately $800,000, with a total savings ranging from $1.6-3.2 million. Bearden in April had proposed to close Fayette Middle, Hood Avenue Primary and Fayetteville Intermediate and open Rivers Elementary as a way to help offset the school system that is facing significant decreasing revenues from plummeting local tax revenues and falling student enrollment that generates approximately $4,000 per student from state sources.
 
The discussion among board members at the May 2 workshop ended with Bearden being asked to develop four optional closure plans for consideration. Those include:
 
1. Bearden’s original proposal for closing Fayette Middle, Hood Avenue Primary and Fayetteville Intermediate and opening Rivers;
 
2. Bearden’s proposal and closing Tyrone Elementary;
 
3. Bearden’s proposal and closing Brooks Elementary; or
 
4. Bearden’s proposal and closing both Tyrone and Brooks.
 
The savings would be $1.6 million if the initial proposal of closing the three Fayetteville and opening Rivers is selected. The savings would top out at $3.2 million if Brooks and Tyrone are also closed and Rivers is opened.
 
A third recommendation Monday night was one that would outsource custodial services for a savings estimated at up to $1 million. Bearden said the reason for looking at custodians for outsourcing is because it is the one job category with significant turnover.
 
Bearden’s fourth recommendation would continue to reduce or combine staff positions at central office, including through attrition. Bearden noted that Fayette spends less than the state average on general administration, citing the example the six assistant superintendents funded by the state though the school system employs only two of the upper administrative positions.
 
The fifth recommendation would be to reduce staff in all employment categories through attrition.
 
As for “other possibilities” for cost-savings, those included reducing the number of assistant principals. The school system currently employs 14 more assistant principals than the state pays for. If reduced, the cost savings for the 14 positions would amount to approximately $1.2 million in salaries and benefits.
 
Also up for discussion is the elimination of all middle school athletics at a savings of $210,000.
 
Another potential on the list is the elimination of all 1st grade parapros for a savings of $1.2 million.
 
Yet another cost savings would be “shut down days” that would save approximately $700,000 per day.
 
An additional suggestion came in the form of a salary reduction that would save $1.325 million for every 1 percent of salary reduced. Bearden in stating the possibility said that employees last year overwhelmingly preferred “shutdown days” to salary decreases.
 
And the final possibility would come from eliminating local funding for pre-kindergarten for a savings of $110,000.
 
Board member Terri Smith during the discussion suggested that the board look again at the potential for combining middle and high school bus routes.
 
“I know we’ve talked about it before,” Smith said, suggesting that it might be worthwhile to take another look at the advantages and disadvantages of combining the routes. She also suggested taking another look at the supplements paid by the school system.
 
The flip side of the coin involves the potential for generating additional school system revenues. In that regard Bearden suggested two possibilities, one of which surfaced in the past and the other more recently.
 
The suggestion from last year that has surfaced again is one that would allow out-of-county students to pay tuition to attend Fayette schools.
 
The other revenue idea would be a referendum to allow the school board to raise the millage rate beyond the current 20-mill rate that represents the legal maximum. It is not surprising that the idea would surface as a potential revenue-generating measure since Bearden initially floated the idea at the school board meeting on May 31. Minutes later Chairman Leonard Presberg followed suit. Bearden and Presberg said they had been told by a couple of parents that they would support a referendum allowing the school board to increase the millage rate beyond where it sits today at the 20-mill maximum allowed by Georgia law.
 
The school board in June adopted the 2012-2013 budget that totaled $177.34 million by using the nearly all of the $15 million fund balance from the school year that ended on June 30. The budget was adopted on a 3-2 vote, with board members Leonard Presberg, Terri Smith and Janet Smola in favor and with Marion Key and Bob Todd opposed.
 
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, on the other hand, total $177.34 million. That represents $14.2 million in expenses over revenues for the 2012-2013 school year that begins in July.
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Comments

Veritas's picture

The BOE has mismanaged the tax payers money for years. As student population stagnated then declined the budget kept growing and Smith, Smola, Wright and Powers kept burning through the fund balances year after year. (http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/02-09-2010/students-16-school-budget-68)That is what has put us in this predicament. Now you dare to consider asking more!! LMFAO!! Fayette is at the maximum millage now and the BOE dares to ask the state for an amendment to that. Show the tax payer you can turn the tide and become fiscally responsible. FCBOE teachers and staff better buckle up and hold on this is gonna be rough!

NUK_1's picture

A) Beg the state for an amendment and subsequent referendum on raising the millage above 20 mils.
B) See A.
C) Put off making tough decisions as long as possible and, yeah, see "A."

suggarfoot's picture

you are sooo dam funny as always! love your comments.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

First "-----they had been told by a couple of parents that they would support a referendum allowing the school board to increase the millage rate" Well of course a couple of parents would support that. Why not? The 4 or 5 other families tax dollars that support your kids going to school at $8,000 a year might disagree. Focus guys, a referendum is a vote of all the taxpayers, not just the parents of your students. That referendum will get more NO votes that the TSPLOST or the ESPOLST.

And then this gem from Bearden "----- that employees last year overwhelmingly preferred “shutdown days” to salary decreases" Yes, I can see where they would prefer not working a few days for the same salary instead of working more days for a reduced salary. Very astute. Now, may I ask you a question? WHO IS WORKING FOR WHO? HUH? Dude, we have a $14million problem and you're focused on "preferences"?

You know things are shaky when Terri Smith comes up with the most sensible idea "------ suggested that the board look again at the potential for combining middle and high school bus routes" Since nobody actually rides the buses, cutting out 1/3 of them seems to be a huge cost savings - equipment, gas, drivers, insurance.

Live free or die!

Veritas's picture

Only a couple of misunderstandings. The actual quote Ben missed is that Bearden said "all the employees that were in ATTENDANCE AT THAT BOE meeting said they preferred".. I've been to many BOE meeting and I can count on both hands the average number of employees (often on one hand) that attend those meetings. Secondly .. The shutdown days would be NON paid days as should be. In other words, the teachers pay would be cut by the number of shut down days. You tend to speak a great deal on these Boe matters without all the accurate information. But for the most part I agree.

suggarfoot's picture

x

suggarfoot's picture

I'm glad my kid is out. Smith and Smola have made such a mess. They still want to control by getting their little lap dog, Holloway, in and Neil Sulivan is licking their back sides.

I feel sorry for Tyrone and Brooks because they are swallowing this because they want their schools left open. They hate Smola in Tyrone but are letting themselves be spoon fed the BS. Quite honestly, if they are that stupid to believe it. They will get what they deserve. A SMolite getting their orders from a 2 yr college community college nobody who touted themselve as Wizardess of Wallstreet. Neil will always be a lap dog too.

ginga1414's picture

Is BOE Candidate Scott Hollowell promising Tyrone and Brooks parents that he will never vote to close their schools in exchange for votes?

Is Mr. Hollowell the hand-picked candidate of two other current BOE members? It seems so!

Mr. Hollowell has scheduled a "Meet-and-Greet" and a "Town Hall" meeting along with current BOE member Terri Smith.

One Facebook page called "Save Tyrone Elementary" shows a statement that said "the Tyrone Elementary PTO endorses Scott Hollowell."

Mr. Hollowell's Facebook page says, "Both Terri (Smith) and Scott (Hollowell) are in favor of keeping BES (Brooks Elementary School) open, and our community needs to get behind them and support them all the way!"

Brooks Elementary School's PTO parents have been the target of an e-mail and U.S. Mail blast initiated by Dan Langford and the Brooks Woman's Club promoting the two meetings with Terri Smith and Scott Hollowell.

The facts are that the Fayette County School System is in BIG trouble!

One solution to the problems our school system is facing is closing schools. The fact is the school system has approximately 2000+ empty seats.

Schools will be closed.

All parents need to know that the schools chosen will be determined by a committee that the superintendent has formed. The superintendent will then make a recommendation to the board to close the named schools. According to the superintendent, this decision will be made by December of this year (2012).

The voting public of Fayette County needs to keep a few basic facts in mind when they go to the polls.

ANY NEW BOARD MEMBERS ELECTED WILL NOT TAKE THEIR SEATS UNTIL JANUARY, 2013. THOSE UP FOR ELECTION NOW WILL NOT MAKE THE DECISION. THE PRESENT BOARD WILL.

THE SCHOOL BOARD IS THE USER OF MOST OF YOUR TAX MONEY. WE NEED PEOPLE ON THE BOARD THAT ARE NOT BEHOLDING TO OTHERS. WE NEED PEOPLE ON THE SCHOOL BOARD THAT WILL NOT MAKE PROMISES TO A GROUP OF PEOPLE AT THE EXPENSE OF THE REST OF THE COUNTY.

The issue is the SURVIVAL of our PUBLIC school system. The issue has to do with ALL FAYETTE COUNTY STUDENTS not just the schools in some districts.

Veritas's picture

So Neil Sullivan believes Mr.Hollowell understands the QBE Formula ,FTE (Full time equivalence ) counts and programs counts, T & E formula and the LFS (Local Fair share) 5mils that all counties pay into their OWN system to get state monies. I ask because his backers on the board sure don't. http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/03-23-2010/school-board-members-smith... . This concerns me greatly ..Last night at the forum Mr.Hollowell makes a statement that really calls his understanding of QBE into question. Hollowell stated that he WILL NOT cut any assistant principal position not even the one of the 14 NON QBE state funded positions.(equal to 1.2 million).This shows either complete and utter disregard for fiduciary responsibility or a total lack of understanding of the QBE formula.

Hi Veritas:

I see this a little different, I know you are shocked. If we are going to allow a vastly outdated formula managed by a state rated no better than 45th in most objective measures to determine our approach to educating in our nationally high performing district we are in trouble. It appears that Mr. Hollowell believes that FCBOE strategy with respect to Assistant Principals is worth investing in. Given my experience with our assistant principal at Peachtree City Elem and others across the high school level, I agree. In fact if we are to do better class room and teacher evaluation we need this resource. Remember if the QBE funds do not cover something local or other funds must.

Wish I could have been there last night, especially since it was at my home church. I did hear that Mr. Hollowell asked Dr. Marchman how he could lower the millage, give teachers raises AND build a fund balance. To me that is a better question than assistant principals. Given current trends, especially in state public K-12 funding, it will be a very long time before we can lower the milage,build a balance AND maintain the standard of service of the FCBOE for the past decade or more. Teacher pay is a sore subject for many people including my wife, but a large number of systems are doing as much and worse than FCBOE.

I am disappointed no one in or running has brought the subject to a broader question such as “what do we want our schools to look like” and then figure the cost. There is too much trying to spread today’s pizza and no thought to how we are going to have excellent (not adequate) schools for the next decade or more. But to be clear and save some the time I do not think the answer is more local dollars or a higher millage rate we must solve this problem on the state level hopefully with something like FAIR school funding.

Take Care,

Neil

Veritas's picture

Hello Neil
QBE does not pay for those 14 AP jobs they are 100% funded by local dollars to the tune of 1.2 million dollars. Back in the mid to late eighties when All Fayette Schools were at the top we had 1 Principal and maybe 2 APs at the HS level and 1 Principal 1 AP at the Jr HS and 1 Principal at the Elementary with NO AP. Now then , Tyrone and Brooks are the lowest populated schools with the highest cost per student ratio. Tyrone itself has a large portion of its students there by special permission and is sitting on 500,000 plus septic issue. Before you go there....( people and business .. Because of our school)Tyrone and Brooks and all of Fayette county are showing little to no growth so that dog won't hunt. (and other schools in the area perform just as well) For Hollowell to say he will not close them is beyond irresponsible. He is showing his deep ties to Smith and Smola. He parrots erroneous information and figures he gets from Smith,Smola and Bearden such as teacher salary figures without due diligence . Smith, Smola and Pressberg voted to give back all the 2.5 to the teachers at a cost of 6 million plus to now dig us into a much deeper hole. If that 2.5 had been held plus those positions list this year through attrition we not be facing the issues we have now. Many employees will now be taking an equvialence to a 5 % and up pay cut. Mr. Hollowell relies on these irresponsible inept individuals guidance. Now I do hope you realize or is Hollowell that disingenuous or ignorant to try and spin "as how he (Dr.Marchman)could lower the millage, give teachers raises AND build a fund balance " was Dr.Marchman's ultimate goal and not something he was going to do immediately upon being elected to the board. Its good to have goals. You and Hollowell do realize that or are you all blinded by the ignorance of Smith and Smola. Hollowell can't even state a goal just empty promises.

Ps on the other system note : the 10 most comparable systems in Fayette county are in far better fiscal shape than we are.
;-)

TATA for now

Hey Veritas:

Wasn’t the vote to return the teacher’s 2.5 Smith, Smola, Tolbert and maybe Key? I was there for that one and spoke in support of the teachers. I cannot remember another time when the teachers got money especially since Pressberg came on. But I am not here for gotcha as we all step in it once in a while and need understanding.

But the better question as I ponder your point is that in 5 years I have been working at the school cost and revenue numbers, FCBOE has done little to change other than adjust for the current year and hope for the best. As you probably know Proverbs tell us that when a wise man sees danger he takes caution while a fool proceeds on his way. (paraphrased). We needed to take caution years ago and we have done nothing to reconsider the central office, our school inventory , feeder patterns, and other strategy issues.

As far as Tyrone and Brooks, I think it depends do we set schools on our perimeter and feed out or do we focus on schools in the center of the county and feed in. What is our strategy and plan to it. One thing I wonder is if we close Hood and Fayette Intermediate, can we use them as a charter school for out of county kids given their proximity to each other. Call it the Fayette Academy. We can run it ourselves or outsource it to someone like Edison and take a percentage for additional revenue.

As for the pay issue, realize that FCBOE cut positions and used the attrition to have jobs for the teachers who did not have jobs. If we held the 2.5, we would be ( and did ) taking money from teachers to put in the bank. The “surplus” we had a few years back was almost exactly equal to money taken from teachers in pay cuts and furlough days. One thing working “against” us is the seniority of our staff versus other systems. Based on some information that I think is 2011, FCBOE paid $532 more per pupil for classroom instruction which would be about a $10MM difference.

I know this wasn’t the great Marchman – Hollowell discussion but the bigger issue in my mind is the future of our excellent Fayette County schools. We can blamestorm and point fingers but we need solutions. Who will exercise greater caution while delivering results? You think it is Marchman, I think it is Hollowell, we will see. I wish I was in better position to run for BOE myself but I do appreciate both men stepping forward.

Thanks for taking the time to discuss
Take Care,
Neil

Veritas's picture

Yes mia culpa....in a hurry on my smart phone did mean to say Dr. Tolbert. Only Smith,Smola and Tolbert voted to give it back... Dr.Todd and Key both said wait. The point I was making that you completely missed is that the system and teachers would have been better off to
wait as Key and Todd asked. Now not only have the teachers given back 2.5% but lost the county paid portion for their benefits. Resulting in many employees now taking 5% up 15% pay cut. The 6 million saved by keeping the 2.5% plus jobs lost through attrition would have prevented the now 5%-15% paycut staff and teachers are taking. I look to the future you and yours look to the here and now. Look what's coming down the road that the "no money crew'". Its called a world of hurt for the system and more over the children That hole is getting bigger and bigger.. 532 more per pupil against what system Not Douglas, Not Hall, Not Houston,, Not Rockdale, we pay about 309-302 more than Newton and Dougherty (smaller systems smaller budget though) ...... OOH you mean Coweta that system that has a reserve,.no paycuts..and all of their High Schools score above State and National Average on those precious tests, with growing business population with people moving there.Also bye the bye works with 20 million LESS in revenue than Fayette. Now we do beat most in the fact we pay less per FTE for staff services and General Administration than the 10 most comparable system but we also have distinct Honor of the Highest pr FTE rate for school administrators of all but one of them. Neil my friend you've got to do better than that. Good night and I'll get to that laughable article you posted from the AJC tomorrow.
:-P
PS I've been analyzing Fayette Counties and all comparable Systems revenues and expenses for 10 yrs now.From reliable Local, State and Federal audits and accounts.

suggarfoot's picture

No one is going to pay higher taxes cause your buddies screwed it up. End of story.

Sorry Suggar. Not Cowbell. I post under my own name.

And unfortunately I am not buddies with the state legislature who I personally believe bear more responsibility then they are given.

That said, FCBOE has not done enough to plan past today and every model I run says the storm has not past.

Hope all is well.

Neil

suggarfoot's picture

for Smith and Smola's screw ups...that is who you are buddies with and I and everyone else know it. Lap dog

NUK_1's picture

When a candidate for BOE is already taking off the table two schools and 14 AP positions when the BOE has a complete financial disaster on their hands; that reeks of pandering and no financial sense at all.

We can all sit around and wish that the state of GA would increase funding for education(or not). The fact is that even after all of the cuts from state of GA on down, this state still is in the middle of the pack as far as education spending. What it's not anywhere close to is desirable results, though the funny thing is that GA has improved slightly WHILE cutting state monies for education. Hmmmmmm.

The ONLY thing that makes FC schools good are the parents, teachers and students. It sure as hell isn't the BOE who has tried over and over to screw up the school system due to inflated egos and simple ignorance due to no experience in anything.
Remember how hard it was to get a school "SPLOST" passed in FC because everyone was concerned way back then that the BOE was absolutely clueless and wasting money left and right? How it took Moses parting the Red Sea(of Ink) to get it to pass on its 3rd attempt? People haven't forgotten how poor the BOE was then and how it has even become worse.

Voting for a candidate that is looking at a present budget that exhausts all 15mil of reserve funds in order to balance it as required by law that wants to immediately take ANYTHING off the table in regards to cuts is someone I cannot support at all. Even Bearden said everything should be on the table, but I guess since he just had his contract extended by the BOE(STUPIDITY AT ITS FINEST MOMENT THERE!) he can be a little braver than a guy who simply wants to get elected for the first time.

EVERY school system in GA has had to deal with the same cuts from the state. Ours just so happens to be one that has dealt with it horribly and had already maxed-out on the 20mills way before. The "State" ain't blameless but most of the problem rests right at the BOE's incompetence for YEARS and now a cowardly attitude to address the problems NOW instead of later.

I must say I am not thrilled with either of my choices for the Board of Education Post 1 position. I don't think Hollowell will have the spine to close the schools needed to help the budget. I like the fact he has been involved in his children's schools. I don't like the fact that Marchman has never had anything to do with any schools in this county, but like the idea that since he has no ties to schools, so he would vote to close them.

This is a difficult choice for me.....

Fayette County citizens need to elect school board members that will be concerned about all of the county. It indeed appears that Brooks and Tyrone parents are rallying behind Scott Hollowell because they say he won't vote to close their schools. Well, what about the rest of us in Fayette County? School board members should represent us also. If a examination of the facts indicates that those 2 schools should be closed, then the rest of the taxpayers should not be forced to pay to keep them open.

Let's look at this logically. We are paying to operate more schools than we can afford. Several schools need to be closed. Tyrone and Brooks have the lowest enrollments of any schools in the county. Tyrone has a major septic tank problem. Seems logical to everyone (except those that live in Tyrone and Brooks and those that are trying to get elected by making unwise promises) that those 2 schools and others need to be closed. It is financially irresponsible to do otherwise.

If Scott Hollowell is determined not to face difficult decisions objectively, I can't vote for him.

Fayette County citizens need to elect school board members that will be concerned about all of the county. It indeed appears that Brooks and Tyrone parents are rallying behind Scott Hollowell because they say he won't vote to close their schools. Well, what about the rest of us in Fayette County? School board members should represent us also. If a examination of the facts indicates that those 2 schools should be closed, then the rest of the taxpayers should not be forced to pay to keep them open.

Let's look at this logically. We are paying to operate more schools than we can afford. Several schools need to be closed. Tyrone and Brooks have the lowest enrollments of any schools in the county. Tyrone has a major septic tank problem. Seems logical to everyone (except those that live in Tyrone and Brooks and those that are trying to get elected by making unwise promises) that those 2 schools and others need to be closed. It is financially irresponsible to do otherwise.

If Scott Hollowell is determined not to face difficult decisions objectively, I can't vote for him.

Fayette County citizens need to elect school board members that will be concerned about all of the county. It indeed appears that Brooks and Tyrone parents are rallying behind Scott Hollowell because they say he won't vote to close their schools. Well, what about the rest of us in Fayette County? School board members should represent us also. If a examination of the facts indicates that those 2 schools should be closed, then the rest of the taxpayers should not be forced to pay to keep them open.

Let's look at this logically. We are paying to operate more schools than we can afford. Several schools need to be closed. Tyrone and Brooks have the lowest enrollments of any schools in the county. Tyrone has a major septic tank problem. Seems logical to everyone (except those that live in Tyrone and Brooks and those that are trying to get elected by making unwise promises) that those 2 schools and others need to be closed. It is financially irresponsible to do otherwise.

If Scott Hollowell is determined not to face difficult decisions objectively, I can't vote for him.

Fayette County citizens need to elect school board members that will be concerned about all of the county. It indeed appears that Brooks and Tyrone parents are rallying behind Scott Hollowell because they say he won't vote to close their schools. Well, what about the rest of us in Fayette County? School board members should represent us also. If a examination of the facts indicates that those 2 schools should be closed, then the rest of the taxpayers should not be forced to pay to keep them open.

Let's look at this logically. We are paying to operate more schools than we can afford. Several schools need to be closed. Tyrone and Brooks have the lowest enrollments of any schools in the county. Tyrone has a major septic tank problem. Seems logical to everyone (except those that live in Tyrone and Brooks and those that are trying to get elected by making unwise promises) that those 2 schools and others need to be closed. It is financially irresponsible to do otherwise.

If Scott Hollowell is determined not to face difficult decisions objectively, I can't vote for him.

suggarfoot's picture

They gave it and as soon as they got re elected...they took it back!

FACTS ARE FACTS, EMPTY PROMISES ARE EMPTY PROMISES, AND LIES ARE LIES!

Hollowell is Smola's chosen to keep her power. She knows she will never be re elected and she is so outclassed by Dr Marchman, and is responsible for the schools being on the chopping block, she knows she need not apply for her own job again.

Enter the trojan horse! Hollowell and Smola will promise you ANYTHING to get in office and control. IT WILL BE THE SAME AS THE TEACHER RAISES.

Don't be lied to!

suggarfoot's picture

Alonzo Cowbelle acowbelle@gmail.com

12:35 PM (1 hour ago)

to me

I received this email a few minutes ago. This person has sent me anonomous emails before when I made negative remarks about Snolla and Smith. Want to guess who Alonzo Cowbell is?

Alonzo Cowbelle acowbelle@gmail.com

xxx,

If your next door neighbor gets in, the teachers of Fayette County will yearn for the days of Smith and Smolla. How's your kid doing over at Alabama? Did he flunk out yet?

Does anyone remember Smith and Smolla and the teacher raise?

suggarfoot's picture

What you said needs to be stamped on these people's forheads! They are being made fools of once again.

All parents need to know that the schools chosen will be determined by a committee that the superintendent has formed. The superintendent will then make a recommendation to the board to close the named schools. According to the superintendent, this decision will be made by December of this year (2012).

The voting public of Fayette County needs to keep a few basic facts in mind when they go to the polls.

ANY NEW BOARD MEMBERS ELECTED WILL NOT TAKE THEIR SEATS UNTIL JANUARY, 2013. THOSE UP FOR ELECTION NOW WILL NOT MAKE THE DECISION. THE PRESENT BOARD WILL.

suggarfoot's picture

What you said needs to be stamped on these people's forheads! They are being made fools of once again.

All parents need to know that the schools chosen will be determined by a committee that the superintendent has formed. The superintendent will then make a recommendation to the board to close the named schools. According to the superintendent, this decision will be made by December of this year (2012).

The voting public of Fayette County needs to keep a few basic facts in mind when they go to the polls.

ANY NEW BOARD MEMBERS ELECTED WILL NOT TAKE THEIR SEATS UNTIL JANUARY, 2013. THOSE UP FOR ELECTION NOW WILL NOT MAKE THE DECISION. THE PRESENT BOARD WILL.

Brooks and Tyrone should NOT close and should be the standard for other schools in the county. Those schools don't, however, need assistant principals.
I have been lied to before by the Terri Smith / Janet Smola mob so it is difficult for me to vote for anyone hey endorse.

suggarfoot's picture

"I have been lied to before by the Terri Smith / Janet Smola mob so it is difficult for me to vote for anyone hey endorse."

How true, but the rest want to hear they won't close the schools. They know in their hearts this can't hold, but they are sticking their heads in the sand and believing those that have lied before. How smart is that?

suggarfoot's picture

"I have been lied to before by the Terri Smith / Janet Smola mob so it is difficult for me to vote for anyone hey endorse."

How true, but the rest want to hear they won't close the schools. They know in their hearts this can't hold, but they are sticking their heads in the sand and believing those that have lied before. How smart is that?

My youngest is almost 20 and in College, so it's not like I have 4 kids playing sports. Still, I think they do a lot of good.

As our County continues to "age", I know tough choices will have to be made.

If parents want their kids to play sports, then they (the parents) should pay for it. Why do I have to, or you? In tough economic times, its going to be more and more difficult to justify high property taxes county wide to pay for other peoples kids to play middle school soccer.

You statement could be said for EVERYTHING that goes on at school. Or school period for that matter.

I guess we have to decide how far we want to go with your statement. I am certainly not trying to argue, but a well rounded school system is good for every resident of Fayette County in my opinion. And I know opinions vary.

I didn't move to Peachtree City and Fayette County almost 10 years ago because of the things that were not offered. Quality of life drew me here, and I should have moved here 20+ years ago when I first married.

I know youre not arguing my point, but I disagree with the statement that it could "be said for EVERYTHING that goes on at school. Or school period for that matter." School is already paid for by taxpayer money. I am only talking about extracuricular activities, like the middle school sports that are currently on the chopping block. Children do better with well rounded educations, I agree, but it is not neccesarily the BOE's burden to provided extra curricular sports. By definition, that stuff is "EXTRA." This is only a stopgap measure to be taken during very stressful financial times. Teachers are already taking a pay cut for the 4th year in a row. And they've reduced the number of school days to 175 for the kids. Something has to give. Would you rather there be less school, or lower quality teachers, just to keep 8th grade wrestling? If you had known, 10 years ago, that there would be no middle school girls volleyball, would you have moved to Clayton or Fulton county instead, espite all the other excellent things FayCo education has to offfer. I can't make that choice for you, but I would still prefer it here for my kids.

With declining enrollment, they will get tougher.

FYI, I grew up in Clayton County in the 70's lived a while in Henry in the 90's. I love it here and want the best we can have.

I don't have all the answers for sure, but I think raising the fees and keeping sports might be a better answer.

What about Band? What about School Clubs? Obviously the School Board could use some input.

I can tell you firsthand exactly how few kids ride the busses. An average of 20 busses pull up to my school in the mornings and I would say that about 5 or them are what I would consider "full." Some of the busses have as few as 3-5 kids and most have about 10. Its such a shameful waste. I asked an AP at my school if bussing is required and he said that it was, but I still think that we could condense routes or charge a fee for ridership. We charge for parking passes. Whats the difference? I'm sure someone will tell the group, but I'd really like to know. The parking lots in front of the school are so crowded with parents who park and wait for their kids to come out, I'm betting if those parents had to pay a yearly fee to let their kid get on the bus even one time, they might make the kids ride it a little more. And if they don't? So what?
Also I'm surprised no one has floated the idea of 4, 10hr day school weeks. That was a very hot topic of conversation a few years ago, but it seemed to have been forgotten. Youd save 20% off of utilities and bus fuel right away. And hey, the teachers are all there 10hrs a day anyway.

G35 Dude's picture

[quote]I can tell you firsthand exactly how few kids ride the busses. An average of 20 busses pull up to my school in the mornings and I would say that about 5 or them are what I would consider "full."[/quote]

The problem is that many of those same buses that are almost empty in the morning will be packed in the afternoon. And some kids will ride on Tuesdays only because that is Mom's day at tennis etc. Then there's practice for football, baseball etc. Those kids won't ride in season but will out of season. Transportation has no way of knowing when a child will choose to ride so you will see some almost empty buses. The only way to address this would be to make parents register their kids that will ride and charge a registration fee as you suggest. And while this would help you'll still have many parents that will register their kids so that they have a backup when needed. So while I think improvements could be made you'll never see only full buses.

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

[quote=G35 Dude][quote] The only way to address this would be to make parents register their kids that will ride and charge a registration fee as you suggest. And while this would help you'll still have many parents that will register their kids so that they have a backup when needed. So while I think improvements could be made you'll never see only full buses.[/quote]
But thats my point. It doesnt matter if the kids ride the bus or not if we have already collected the registration fee.

Pay to ride has worked quite successfully for many years in school systems all over the United States.
The only problem I see with Pay to ride in an area such as this is someone (quite a few from this forum come to mind) will start to scream about how the program is going to disenfranchise some students from getting a good education.

Sadly & I hate to say this but the best thing (in the long run) for the school district would be to get rid of both the 1st grade propras & AP's.. When I was young, we did not have Ap's in our primary schools. Typically one or two (most) senior members of the teaching staff would assit the principal in the event it were necessary or they were not there. As for propras, there is always an abundance of busy body mom's who given the chance would love to come in for a few hours each day and help out their kids teacher.

- Don't blame me, I didn't vote for Obama!

Veritas's picture

Why stop there ... Let's take a look a supplements paid to High School Coaches. I mean when a head HS football coaching supplement in Fayette county is near 20,000. The state average is 8,000 or under or even do as many counties pay a percentage of their base salary 10% seems about the norm for Top ranked high school teams.

Does anyone know where the money to resurface the school parking lots is coming from?

As state shirks its funding responsibility, school systems feel squeeze
10:20 am July 19, 2012, by Maureen Downey

Here is an opinion piece from Georgia Budget & Policy Institute’s policy analyst Cedric Johnson on the budget deficit that counties across the state of Georgia will face this coming school year.

By Cedric Johnson

As local school boards across Georgia finalize k-12 budgets for the coming school year, they are feeling the squeeze not just from a still-struggling economy, but from a decade of trends and policy decisions that have left schools ill-equipped to meet the needs of families and employers.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution recently reported on the DeKalb County school system’s struggle to close an $85 million budget deficit. With little reserve funding available, the article quotes one state senator as warning, “If they don’t rebuild the surplus, I’ll talk to SACS,” referring to the regional entity that evaluates and accredits schools. The senator recommends cutting teacher pay instead of raising taxes to close the deficit.

While the senator’s preferred solution may help end the current budget crisis, it does not address the key reasons that schools throughout the state are in a similar bind.

The budget crunch is not simply a result of our economic woes. Trends in k-12 education financing over the last decade have also played a big role, as the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute highlights in its recent report FY 2013 Budget Analysis: PK-12 Education.

Three particular developments help explain how Georgia’s public schools arrived at their current predicament.

•First, Georgia’s K-12 student population has increased tremendously and at a much faster rate than other states. Since 2000, enrollment in Georgia’s public schools increased by 230,000 additional students. More than 1.6 million students will enter public k-12 classrooms in Georgia for the 2013 school year, representing the eighth-largest elementary and secondary school system in the United States.

•Even though schools need more resources to cope with the surge in students, state support for public education has steadily declined over the last decade. Lawmakers have cut the state’s core funding program for K-12 education by$5.7 billion since 2003, with most of these cuts occurring over the past four years. That equates to a loss of around $600 per student, or $15,000 for a classroom of 25 students, annually since the 2009 school year. When adjusted for inflation, per pupil spending is now at its lowest level in over 10 years.

•Third, responsibility for funding public schools has steadily shifted from the state to the local level. Whereas the state provided 60 percent of funding for K-12 education in 2000, it only provided 50 percent by 2010. While that might not seem like a huge change, a 1 percent shift in funding responsibility equated to $131 million in 2011.Property taxes are the major local revenue source for public school funding, and declining property values in the wake of the Great Recession have only contributed to school districts’ challenges.

If they are not addressed, these demographic and financial trends ensure Georgia schools will continue to face budget deficits in the years ahead. That should be sobering to policymakers at a time when education is more important than ever to creating a strong economy and nurturing the kind of jobs that are a ticket to the middle class.

While it is important to stretch dollars in the wake of the state’s budget crisis, Georgia simply cannot expect to build a world-class workforce that can compete for good-paying jobs without making an adequate investment in public education.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

Veritas's picture

 
Smith, Smola, Hollowell and  Neil say It's the legislatures fault...

Ok

First : " surge in student population"
Fayette student population has been on a steady decline since 2007. 
So, not cause and effect in Fayette
Hmmmmm... ok so blame the state excuse one doesn't pan out . Excuse number two ...it'll ..yeah ..that'll show 'em  

Second: decline in state funding during "student surge" .... Granted from 2001-2011 the percentage the state funds has fluctuated up and down between a high of 53.31% to a low of 38.31%...curreny 43.77% ....Mmm but Fayette county's TOTAL Revenue has gone up around 5 to 8% each year. (except 2009 lost that Obama money"
 This doesn't apply to Fayette either.. "per pupil spending is now at its lowest level in over 10 years" ..,while Fayette student population was in decline FCBOE revenue and budget were on a steady climb..... As well as per pupil expenditures. (see below)
 
Dang third times a charm..,.Right
Once again...

"Third, responsibility for funding public schools has steadily shifted from the state to the local level",.. True ... True but that's True of EVERY county and the 10 most comparable systems are in much better financial shape than Fayette with  smaller revenues in most cases.  Again i'll grant you that the state percentage has fluctuated up and down from 53.31% tcuss of 2011 it is 43.77%... But overall revenues to the Fayette County School system have been on a steady incline until 2011.
 
    
 
2001 State %   53.31      student Pop: 19,691​Total revenues 133,521,027.61

 
2002 State %   53.95     student Pop:  20,449​Total revenues 142,341,006.04
 
2003 State %   45.65     student Pop: 20,778​Total Revenue : 149,560,927.76

 
2004 State %   48.28       student Pop:  21,281​Total Revenue: 156,834,932.05​

 
 
2005 State %   46.90      student Pop: 21,700​Total Revenue: 163,942,187.63
 
2006 State %   46.55      student Pop: 22.299​Total Revenue: 176,355,744.07

 
 
2007 State %   48.31       student Pop: 22,546​Total Revenue: 195,108,116.86

 
 
2008 State %    49.00     student Pop: 22,248​Total Revenue: 202,204,911.40

 
 
2009 State %    43.96     student Pop: 22,155​Total Revenue: 196,496,911.00

 
 
2010 State %    38.82    student Pop: 21,751​Total Revenue: 196,618,051.80

 
 
2011 State %    43.77   student Pop: 21,290​Total Revenue: 193,936,493.03

Humm that dog don’t hunt either …. What ..What could it be…

Hmmmmm???

Over bloated admin…Building and staffing schools not needed

2001 school administration 8,330,778.25

2011 school administration 12,988,696.44

214.67 2001 Pr FTE General Admin Expenditure
269.23 2011 Pr FTE General Admin Expenditure
 
423.00 2001 Pr FTE School Admin Expenditure
610.08 2011 Pr FTE School Admin Expenditure
 
315.91 2001 Pr FTE Staff services Expenditure
355.06 2011 Pr FTE Staff services Expenditure
 
4,528.20 Pr FTE Instruction
5,839.55 Pr FTE Instruction
 
Where Oh where is the Largest percentage gain???

Two voices in the board have consistently asked for fiscal responsibility and to build a reserve.
You do know only three counties in the State don't have a reserve.

 

suggarfoot's picture

And we are ..one.. of the THREE in the entire state and Smith/Smola/Neil Sullivan/Holloway, squealing like a stuck pig that the state needs to give us more money. Wow!

"Two voices in the board have consistently asked for fiscal responsibility and to build a reserve.

You do know only three counties in the State don't have a reserve."

Yeah, they are real gurus of finance!

suggarfoot's picture

And we are ..one.. of the THREE in the entire state and Smith/Smola/Neil Sullivan/Holloway, squealing like a stuck pig that the state needs to give us more money. Wow!

"Two voices in the board have consistently asked for fiscal responsibility and to build a reserve."...let me guys...Dr Todd and Marion Key

"You do know only three counties in the State don't have a reserve."

Yeah, they are real gurus of finance!

These fees are paid for by the parents, the BOE does NOT pay for uniforms,most transportation,equipment, etc............that's why there are Booster Organizations.....also,Fayette County supplements to coaches and teachers are among the lowest in the state......The BOE needs to trim jobs from the central office BEFORE hitting the classrooms........

Veritas's picture

Fayette head football coaches supplements are among the highest in the state. Now other sports head coaches ,assistant coaches and MS coaches that's a different story.

So Neil's post is to let us know the reason the FCBOE has no money is the State. They are the bad boys in this equation. Georgia has shirked its duties by not funding what they use to fund.

Get a clue. Every school district is picking up more of the tab for funding education. The difference is other school districts seem to be doing a much better job handling the situation than our own FCBOE.

Keep blaming the state though; it deflects the ineptitude of the FCBOE.

You can shake the money tree only so much until it no longer feeds your needs. FCBOE took it to an extreme to provide more to the students and families of Fayette County. The tree has died and now cuts must be made. HUGE cuts. And it will only get worse. The FCBOE is sticking it to the teachers because it knows the teachers have no other place to go for employment. Without a union and other counties making cuts, teachers in Fayette County are stuck. No pay raises in years. Cuts made to benefits. "Shut down" days. Adding more students to the classrooms. At what point will it end? I'll tell you. It'll end when the Blue Flu hits and every teacher calls in sick. Talk about a mess. Beat a dog enough and it'll bite back. Teachers are biting back.

suggarfoot's picture

1. Bearden’s original proposal for closing Fayette Middle, Hood Avenue Primary and Fayetteville Intermediate and opening Rivers;...

The savings would be $1.6 million if the initial proposal of closing the three Fayetteville and opening Rivers is selected.

4. Bearden’s proposal and closing both Tyrone and Brooks.

The savings would top out at $3.2 million if Brooks and Tyrone are also closed and Rivers is opened

Guys this is so wrong on so many levels...do you really believe they are going to let you close neighborhood schools that are black to keep the two white ones of choice, Tyrone and Brooks open? As I understand that is what Hollowell, Smith and Smolla are pedling to get Hollowell elected.

This is just plain wrong.

First place, it ain't gonna ever happen. Their kids have feelings too. Second, the NAACP would sue us till hell froze over. Third, it is a lie, and a bad one at that.

You need to face facts. Smith and Smola created this mess by overbuilding schools, (developers wife and Smolla a poorly educated want to be)
This deal was done the day they built Rivers with everyone telling them don't. Now tuff decisions will have to be made. If you want to believe Smith, Smola and Hollowell can get the blacks to ride buses further to school so your little white ones can sit in their schools, then I have some swamp land to sell you!

They just want to spoon feed you BS, and you are stupid enough to eat it.

suggarfoot's picture

1. Bearden’s original proposal for closing Fayette Middle, Hood Avenue Primary and Fayetteville Intermediate and opening Rivers;...

The savings would be $1.6 million if the initial proposal of closing the three Fayetteville and opening Rivers is selected.

4. Bearden’s proposal and closing both Tyrone and Brooks.

The savings would top out at $3.2 million if Brooks and Tyrone are also closed and Rivers is opened

Guys this is so wrong on so many levels...do you really believe they are going to let you close neighborhood schools that are black to keep the two white ones of choice, Tyrone and Brooks open? As I understand that is what Hollowell, Smith and Smolla are pedling to get Hollowell elected.

This is just plain wrong.

First place, it ain't gonna ever happen. Their kids have feelings too. Second, the NAACP would sue us till hell froze over. Third, it is a lie, and a bad one at that.

You need to face facts. Smith and Smola created this mess by overbuilding schools, (developers wife and Smolla a poorly educated want to be)
This deal was done the day they built Rivers with everyone telling them don't. Now tuff decisions will have to be made. If you want to believe Smith, Smola and Hollowell can get the blacks to ride buses further to school so your little white ones can sit in their schools, then I have some swamp land to sell you!

They just want to spoon feed you BS, and you are stupid enough to eat it.

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