School Board Makes Cuts in Proposed Budget

July 11, 2011
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education, following a two hour workshop, met briefly in special session Monday evening to trim the proposed budget for schools for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

The revisions were made by the school board after County Mayor Mike Foster and members of the county budget committee last Thursday night asked Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and the school board to find places in the budget to make cuts.

SCHOOL BOARD from dwayne page on Vimeo.
The school board is now asking for a six and a half cent tax hike for schools, down from the original request for a seventeen cent increase. However the board is seeking an additional $169, 560 from the local option sales tax or the so called "sinking fund" in the new spending plan for schools above the $1.5 million in sales tax funds already included in the budget.

The overall budget for schools, as originally presented to the county budget committee in May, totaled $20-million, 146-thousand 303 dollars. The school board has now reduced that amount by $213,310 to $19-million 932-thousand 993. Projected revenues are budgeted at $19-million 655-thousand 962, which is $277,031 below estimated expenditures for the year.

The original proposed budget included funds for a few positions which have now been cut from the spending plan including the following:

A new physical education teacher at Northside Elementary School; an instructional coach; and two assistant soccer coaches. Total cuts in this category -$95,570

A total of $290,000 had been budgeted for diesel fuel costs but that has been cut by $84,000

The board had requested an additional $250,000 in capital outlay expense but that has been reduced by $31,855.

An additional $40,000 budgeted for updated hardware/software Accounting Department has been reduced by $1,885

The proposed school budget still 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)

Proposed new positions which remain in the budget are as follows:
A new fifth grade teaching position at Northside Elementary School.
An additional math teacher at DeKalb County High School
An assistant band teacher
A support staff site coordinator at DCHS
A special education teacher at DCHS
Three new assistant principals (one at each DeKalb West, Northside Elementary, and Smithville Elementary School)

The budget adds local funding back to the general fund for three teaching positions and an educational assistant, which for the last two years have been paid for with federal stimulus or American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds that have now been exhausted

Also remaining in the spending plan are requests for the following increases:
Textbook adoption (Math)- $40,000
Minimal increase in utility costs- $6,000
Increase in maintenance of plant supplies- $23,000

The revised school budget, which was adopted on a 5-1 vote, will now be presented to the county budget committee for review Tuesday night, July 12 at 6:00 p.m. at the courthouse. School board members voting in favor were Kenny Rhody, Johnny Lattimore, W.J. (Dub) Evins, III, Charles Robinson, and Bruce Parsley. Board member John David Foutch voted "no" saying he could not support it until he knows what one cent of the property tax rate is projected to generate. Board member Billy Miller was absent.

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