Budget Committee Rejects School Board Request to Fund New Positions

June 20, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Budget Committee Meeting

The budget committee of the DeKalb County Commission has rejected the Board of Education's request to fund new positions in the proposed 2011-12 budget but is still open to the idea of funding a pay raise for personnel.

During a meeting Thursday night at the courthouse, the budget committee, on a 5 to 0 vote, instructed County Mayor Mike Foster to notify the school board that the request for funding to create several new positions within the school system is denied.

Members of the budget committee are Wayne Cantrell, Larry Summers, Marshall Ferrell, John Green, and Jack Barton.

In order to fully fund the school board's request, the county commission would have had to increase the local property tax rate by seventeen cents, something members of the budget committee are unwilling to recommend.

The proposed school budget includes a 3.2% pay raise for support staff or non-certified personnel and a 1.6% local increase to match the state's 1.6% pay hike for certified personnel (teachers). While members of the budget committee seemed to be in favor of granting the request, they have some questions about the proposed pay raises and want to meet with Director of Schools Mark Willoughby first before giving final approval on a recommendation to send to the county commission.

The budget committee also wants to question Willoughby on a couple of other budget issues, specifically the reason for an increase in the capital outlay request of $250,000 and whether it has anything to do with the renovation of the DCHS Science Lab. While budget committee members said they support the project, they would like to know if it is being funded in the current budget or next year's spending plan. They have also questions about a budget line item in the amount of $666,893 from the Education Jobs Fund, which Willoughby has previously said is federal one time monies.

The school board will now have to go back and revise its proposed general purpose budget for 2011-12, which as presented in its original form totaled $20-million 146-thousand 303.

The school board had originally proposed adding the following new positions:

Five new teacher positions
One Northside Elementary School 5th grade teacher
One Northside Elementary School physical education teacher
One DCHS math teacher
One county wide instruction coach teacher
One band assistant teacher

Two new assistant soccer coach positions

One new support staff position-DCHS site coordinator

One new teacher position-DCHS special education teacher

Three teacher positions which have been funded from federal stimulus (ARRA) money to be returned to the local general purpose fund now that the ARRA funds have been exhausted.

One educational assistant position which has been funded from ARRA money to be returned to the local general purpose budget

Three new assistant principal positions with benefits
One at DeKalb West
One at Northside Elementary
One at Smithville Elementary

The school board has also asked for the following increases:

Textbook adoption (Math)- $40,000
Updated hardware/software Accounting Department- $40,000
Minimal increase in utility costs- $6,000
Increase in maintenance of plant supplies- $23,000
Increase in fuel costs: $124,000
Increase in capital outlay- $200,000

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