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DeKalb School Board Fails to Adopt Budget

School board members debated more teacher furlough days or pay cuts, and ended up deciding to end the meeting and try again Thursday.

The DeKalb County school board met Wednesday to discuss an $85-million budget deficit and failed to adopt a budget for the upcoming school year.

Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson recommended a mix of a 2-mill tax hike and an array of cuts.

Board member Paul Womack, meanwhile, proposed no tax hikes and a shorter school year and 10 more teacher furlough days. The board took a break to gather information on Womack's proposal and then delayed the discussion until 6 p.m. Thursday.

The school board planned to vote last week on a spending plan that would cover a $73 million deficit.

The board delayed the vote after they learned from district financial officials that there was an additional $12 million in cuts the board would have to make because the county's tax digest was lower than first anticipated.

Join the discussion now.

~ HHS ~ June 20, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Revised- Did I hear this correctly? The reason they went on break is because someone asked, "How will cutting 10 days affect Teachers?" They couldn't come up with an answer?? REALLY?? Isn't this pretty simple math? 10 days out of 183 = approximately 5-6% paycut. That is about $125./mo. on the low end and $375./mo on the high end per teacher pay cut. Not a pretty number. But, the answer to the question was pretty simple math. Why are we waiting until tomorrow?
North Georgia Weather June 20, 2012 at 08:53 PM
The big question is what would the effects be on the kids. They're talking 10 less days of school.
Cheryl Miller June 21, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Actually, 16 fewer days of school. The cut in days is the same as asking for a reduction in salaries. They likely want to know which is the worse of the two evils so they can "sell" it to the rest of us as being the best thing possible.
Cheryl Miller June 21, 2012 at 12:24 AM
4 fulough days already in the plan, 2 more added as part of the deeper cuts recommended by the Superintendent and now a call for 10 more days off. Womack said, "Face it, after CRCTs are over, nothing really gets done in our schools anyway."
Greengirl June 21, 2012 at 12:29 AM
The Board is considering adding 20 minutes of instruction each day and paying the teacher for 10 days less. Same work, but they lose 10 days of pay, plus four previous furlough days are still in place, plus two new forlough days. That is a 16 day pay cut on top of no raises in the past five years and the school system is not paying into the teacher's retirement fund, which is likely illegal. This administration and board are dispicable. I really hope that all you Patch readers who are in District 3 are paying attention. Our rep is Sara Copelin-Woods and she might be the most incompetent public official I have ever seen....and that is saying a lot. Please pay attention people. Even if you don't have kids, your life is affected if we continue to raise generations of undereducated children.
Greengirl June 21, 2012 at 12:40 AM
I agree nothing gets done after the testing, but would prefer they move the test to the end of the year and better utilize the time we have. Less time in class will certainly not benefit the kids and I don't think 20 mins in a day makes up for 10 full days. I also agree that they are putting out feelers to see if we prefer to take a tax hike or to make the teachers pay....again. However, I think if there is enough public pressure put on this board there is a chance that they will finally consider the third choice and that is to cut up the friends and family program and realize the savings from the central office, which is where they can really find the bloat. It's likely that I'm just a hopeless optimist and that in the end they will jack up our taxes and stick it to the teachers. Oh well, at least my property value has declined so much that I'll never notice the tax increase.
HDM June 21, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Bless you Mr. Womack
Jim Kinney June 21, 2012 at 02:42 AM
I've seen schools that do loads of great things after CRCT. That is perfect group project time. It's a matter of school leadership and a good teacher morale. What happened today is another tragedy of leadership. Furlough days hit the teachers in the pocket. It also hits the parents in the pocket who work and get paid by the hour. They have to pay a "no-school tax" as someone stays home with the kids. The winners of the Womack plan will be owners of rental property. A cut in their outlay with no corresponding cut in income all paid for by DeKalb school teachers and their students with a decreased lifetime earning potential. Does Womack sit on the board of any real estate holding companies?
Jim Kinney June 21, 2012 at 02:43 AM
sarcasm?
lastminutemom June 21, 2012 at 03:04 AM
The main problem is that Atkinson has not done enough to cut central office expenses. It needs to be brutal so much so that whole sections of the building sit empty. Only then, is a tax increase appropriate. Womack and the rest of the board are wrong in not demanding that Atkinson strip the central office down to its bare essentials. The board is part of the problem.
Daniel Brock June 21, 2012 at 03:42 AM
I agree with you Greengirl. Let's just lay teachers off since we don't have enough money to pay them what they want. With less teachers, we can afford those raises.
~ HHS ~ June 21, 2012 at 05:42 AM
Yes! I agree completely..it is all about the kids. I was just listening to the question before the break that proceeded the postponement. Someone asked about affects on teachers. Seems this and the affects on children are so controversial, it could be debated for months...time to make some decisions.
Paula June 21, 2012 at 10:49 AM
Womack is clueless. Has he ever been in a school after CRCT's? That certainly has not been my children's experience. Also, as far as high school students, AP exams are scheduled for the first two weeks of May, plus EOCT tests are given within that timeframe as well. There is exam preparation during that time for both MS and HS students.
bulldogger June 21, 2012 at 12:10 PM
More cuts to the CO ain't gonna happen......this is a big part of BHO's "Jobs Program"......he would not be happy. Add that on top of everything else, you know "The Leaks", "F&F", "Drop in the Polls", etc........wait, wait, on second thought, lets get rid of the whole thing, just vacate it now, fire everybody, they don't do anything but screw up anyhow, they'll never be missed.....See, I've solved the whole thing myself......I am so proud.
HDM June 21, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Not at all. No tax increase.
What goes around comes around June 21, 2012 at 04:10 PM
How about we rent out the "Palace" to a corporation with deep pockets that would be thrilled to have such luxurious digs, and put the CO in trailers or in one of the empty schools.
Melanie June 21, 2012 at 04:59 PM
I think administration should be slashed. Too much red tape and not enough for the classroom. This atrocious deficit shows what administration gets us. Less "oversight" and more $$ for the people on the front lines. They should find $75 million in admin. to cut. Surely that would be a start!
Maggie Adams June 21, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I think it was more a question of the legality of this. There are laws about how many hours our kids have to be in school. Someone mentioned that in exchange for losing those days, the day would be extended by 20 minutes. I guess 180 days - 12 furlough = 168 days. 168 x 20minutes = 56 hours. 56/7 hours per day = 8 days they'd make up that way.
Lola July 13, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Don't forget Paul Womack was in favor of the E-splost tax which was inaccurately reported to be a better deal for property owners than a repeal of the homestead exemption. Did he have concern for our taxes then? No!

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