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Fayette school system eyes cutting 72 school employees

With income dropping, numbers of students declining, budget deadlines approaching, and the easy expense cuts already made, the Fayette County Board of Education Monday night heard the first, but likely not the last, proposal intended to trim sufficient funds from the people side of the budget for next year.

Superintendent Jeff Bearden in past months has stated that a significant amount of needed reductions in expenses will come from personnel cuts.

First up was a proposal to reduce 72.5 school-based positions at a savings of $4 million.

Human Resources Director Reanee Ellis told board members that those numbers could change somewhat as staff worked through the reduction process.

The reduction of 72.5 positions is expected to generate approximately $4 million in savings for the 2012-2013 school year that begins July 1. Of that total, 61.5 positions would be certified teaching positions and 11 would be classified employees, Ellis said.

Bearden in previous meetings had stated that the school system needed to find approximately $10 million in savings in order to adopt a balanced budget in June. At his recommendation, school board members in December adopted a new 177-day school calendar that would save approximately $3.3 million next year.

It is noteworthy that, to some extent, the amount of money needed to balance the 2012-2013 budget is a moving target. Yet the bottom line is that the current budget has $170.23 million in revenues and $186.7 million in expenses. State law requires that tax levying entities adopt a balanced budget.

The current projection of a June 30 fund balance of about $13.9 million from various savings along with the current proposed staff reductions and going to a 177-day calendar will help significantly but may not solve the problem in the face of falling state and local revenues.

What also remains to be seen is whether the upcoming budget will have some amount of cushion in it to help buffer what could be a further decrease in the tax digest and additional decreases in enrollment that would result in even less state revenue.

A breakdown of the proposed reduction categories included 24.5 elementary school teachers, 23 middle school teachers, 14 high school teachers, 17.5 custodians and 1 clerical position.

A more detailed view showed that of the 24.5 positions in elementary schools, 19 of those would be regular education teachers, 3 would be special education teachers, 1.5 physical education teachers and 1 counseling position.

Middle school reductions included 19 regular education teachers and 4 special education teachers.

High school reductions included 13 regular education teachers and half a special education teacher.

The classified positions targeted for reduction included 10.5 elementary school custodians, 3.5 middle school custodians, 3.5 high school custodians, 4 elementary school parapros, and 1 high school clerical staff.

The proposed reduction in parapros would be accompanied by the addition of 9 specially-trained collaborative parapros that could function in a more integrated fashion and would eventually generate more state revenue, the board was told. So in terms of the total number of parapros there would be a net gain of 7.5 positions.

Ellis said the proposed reductions came after in-depth conversations by the allotment committee with the various school principals. Those conversations were give and take, Ellis said.

Additionally, Ellis said the school system is communicating with employees to get a handle on their plans for next year. She noted that the school system usually loses 250-275 employees each year through people retiring or moving. Communications with staff thus far has determined that 34 are expecting to retire with another 45 considering retirement.

Asked by board member Bob Todd if the reductions were based primarily on the school system’s decreasing student enrollment, both Ellis and Bearden said that was the case.

“It’s a direct reflection of the loss of student population,” Bearden said.

The school system lost more than 700 students this year compared to the previous year and has seen a decrease in enrollment that totals approximately 1,760 students since 2007. A study performed last year projected the loss of another 1,650 students between now and 2021.

The proposed reductions presented Monday night will be followed by additional considerations in March that are not centered only on instructional staff. Asked after the meeting about other cost-saving proposals, Bearden said he would be discussing the areas of transportation, school administration and county central office.

Unlike in most years, staff reductions have an enhanced significance since the school system is looking at ways to cut costs in the face of falling revenues from both local property taxes and state QBE (Quality Basic Education) dollars.

The school system receives approximately 53 percent of its income from local property tax revenues. Local revenues going to the school system are budgeted to total nearly $90 million this year.

But with the projection last week by the Fayette County Tax Assessor’s Office that the tax digest is anticipated to decrease by approximately 8 percent, that decline could mean a decrease of approximately $7.2 million for the coming school year.

Unless there is some form of unexpected infusion of revenue from the state, the school system will also see a decrease in that revenue category. The school system brings in approximately $4,000 per student being served. Though it takes an amount of time to experience the full impact, the loss of more than 700 students since last school year will eventually translate into nearly $3 million fewer dollars in state revenue.

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Comments

Wow - not one position from "management" being cut....

G35 Dude's picture

[quote]Wow - not one position from "management" being cut....[/quote]

Nope not one. And if you read other parts of The Citizen you'll see that they seem to be targeting people like Bus Drivers. Why no articles on upper management with what they make with benefits? It's always teachers, para pros, bus drivers etc. I guess the plan is to target the weak and The Citizen is right in step with the BOE on this.

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

SPQR's picture

it's the difference between government and private enterprise. In government productive people are always expendable. In the real world it is generally recognized that staff folks are the most expendable. It would probably be hard to find any school system that could not be improved by eliminating a certain number of central office jobs

Gene61's picture

Why no upper or middle management positions cut? Only cuts I really disagree with the " Special Needs " teachers..

Also in the new school 177-day calendar , does that include a later start to the schhol year? Wouldn't delaying the start of the new school year until after Labor day save money and fuel cost as well?

Veritas's picture

Beginning to see between the two they have just about enough brains to make One half a Moron. I think the teachers and staff should demand a face to face with these two to hear the justifications for the idiotic rational for the Highly selective cuts they want to implement .

Mike King's picture

Isn't it typical that when faced with a budget shortfall government entities never propose cuts to their staffs? Correct me if I'm wrong, but when one makes the argument for better student to teacher ratios cutting teacher positions would be the last thing a competent school executive would consider.

I will admit that there may be a few teachers that don't quite measure up, but I'll bet the criteria for cuts do not and will not be performance based. Consider eliminating those staff positions that have little or no bearing on the quality of education that we in Fayette County have come to expect. We have great teachers as evidenced by our state and national standing, and for me looking to the classroom for cuts is simply a boneheaded idea.

Straight from the article.

'The proposed reductions presented Monday night will be followed by additional considerations in March that are not centered only on instructional staff. Asked after the meeting about other cost-saving proposals, Bearden said he would be discussing the areas of transportation, school administration and county central office.'

Eat More Collards!

G35 Dude's picture

I love collards and cornbread. I also like Panama City beach. If you prefer Martha's Vineyard all I can say is "Delta is ready when you are!"

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

Collards/turnip greens etc.....nothing better when they are prepared with care.

Veritas's picture

Please enlighten the public as to the logic behind the delay until March to include admin , transportation and central office personnel into the cuts? Why would the current proposal not be all inclusive ?

Robert W. Morgan's picture

The reason to delay the decision has to do with the severance package that the dumped employees will get.
The lucky 72 will get at least 2 years salary and benefits and then lucrative retirement.

BTW, the so-called cost savings from this move are simply something that will show up on a different line of the school systems budget - probably something they can blame on the previous administration.

When teachers and school buses are dumped, you will know they are serious. Don't hold your breath waiting for it.

Live free or die!

Veritas's picture

I appreciate your take but I don't quite agree. I believe they are serious about laying this on the backs of the teachers and staff all the while protecting the administrators and central office. The last budget crunch they RIF a number of teachers, para pros and custodial staff.... No severance....no benefits and what many forget no unemployment....all the while maintaining the central office and administration. I agree that they have no real intention of letting this effect any administration level employees

Gene61's picture

The reason to delay the decision has to do with the severance package that the dumped employees will get.
The lucky 72 will get at least 2 years salary and benefits and then lucrative retirement.

In essence no true saving at all..

Veritas's picture

NOT FACTUAL....The last budget crunch they RIF a number of teachers, para pros and custodial staff.... No severance....no benefits and what many forget no unemployment....all the while maintaining the central office and administration. I agree that they have no real intention of letting this effect any administration level employees[/quote]

Gene61's picture

Assumptions are all we have until we the final argeements and budget. Bottom . sooner or later all local , state and the fed gov will better soon to operate within its means and stop spending money we don't have..

Gene61's picture

Assumptions are all we have until we the final argeements and budget. Bottom . sooner or later all local , state and the fed gov will better soon to operate within its means and stop spending money we don't have..

<a href="http://www.foxbusiness.com/on-air/stossel/blog/2012/02/15/putting-teache... Teachers' Unions Ahead of Kids</a>

<cite>Obama's new budget is 1,470 pages long. On page 1,318, Obama announces he will end funding for the DC "Opportunity Scholarship" program, which gives poor kids the option of going to a private school instead of being stuck in the government monopoly.</cite>

<cite>It's a popular program - 500 more kids applied last year than there was room for - and for good reason: A "gold-standard" Department of Education study found that kids who were randomly selected to get the scholarship ended up 3 months ahead of their peers in reading, were happier with their school, and had higher graduation rates. To get those results, the private schools spent less than half what government-run schools spent per student.</cite>

<cite>It should be no surprise that, when parents can choose, schools are forced to get better. But Obama's new budget kills the school choice program, while it gives an extra $36 million to DC's government-run schools.</cite>

Obama isn't concerned with education. He marches to the orders of the Teachers Unions. If government run schools are such a great thing, why doesn't he put his own children in them? Because he's a miserable hypocrite out to destroy America, that's why.

With income dropping, numbers of students declining its obvious that the influx of Clayton and Fulton's finest has made an impact. With the welfare majority taking over the county and not paying taxes there is no money to run the schools with. I say dispose of cafeteria staff completely. Schools are for education not a soup kitchen for the homeless and poor.With the majority of students on the free lunch program its hard to make a profit.Students should provide their own lunches and ban the Obama Lunch Nazis. NO CHIPS FOR U !!!

Veritas's picture

[quote=batman7732]Schools are for education not a soup kitchen for the homeless and poor.With the majority of students on the free lunch program its hard to make a profit.Students should provide their own lunches and ban the Obama Lunch Nazis. NO CHIPS FOR U !!![/quote]

Is the general public really this ill-informed? 23.6% ( hardly a majority)of Fayette county students are ELIGIBLE for free or reduced lunch and not all of those participate in the program.

What was the magic number 10,15 or 20 years ago. IN 2003 THE FREE LUNCH WAS @2.9% AS OF 2010 ITS 29.4% @ FCHS ALONE !!! That's a HUGE increase in only 7 years. When tax dollars are not being paid into the system , the well will run dry eventually.Consolidate bus routes, less drivers needed.Consolidate classes and less teachers are needed. Cut out lunch rooms and let them bring lunch.
http://www.schooldigger.com/go/GA/schools/0213002168/school.aspx

Veritas's picture

As of 2012 total ..... All..... System wide 23.6%
Please try and keep up with the times

I think we all know what part of the county has the biggest problems. Please refer to the link and see for yourself.Look at individual schools, city by city. Scores, enrollment are down and free lunches are up. Viewing the county as a whole only hides the truth.

Veritas's picture

As of 2012 total ..... All..... System wide 23.6%
Please try and keep up with the times
http://decal.ga.gov/documents/attachments/11FreeRedAllSchools.pdf
P.S school digger is accepted as reliable info as Wikipedia is accepted by any research organization as a reliable resource

I love when Libtards are in denial. I guess your family and kids are riding the Obama train too. That would explain your defensive stance. At least admit the free lunch program is skyrocketing with the influx of low income families.

Come out of the la la land of PTC. The free lunch program is skyrocketing throughout the country because of the UNEMPLOYMENT!! (Yes Batman - right here in Peachtree City) Enrollmemt is down - free lunch program is up. Hmmmmm.) We haven't become so callous as to not to want to feed our children while they are in school. Geeeez.

Let the Obama's furnish free lunch for everyone, they know exactly what to feed us. Deep fried chicken nuggets & fries instead of a turkey sandwich & chips. Oh and send the bill home for the single mom to pay.
http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/childs-lunch-allegedly-taken-by-teacher-tol...

is to make the free lunch students eat collards everyday! Also, with enrollment down, can't we get rid of the rat and cat infested trailers littering the schoolyards in our fair county! The freed up space could be used for growing collards for the free lunch program! We should also look into replacing the expensive-to-maintain Bermuda grass on the sports fields with collards rather than expensive artificial turf! Not only will this provide more cushion for young knees and other joints, the torn leaves generated by trampling feet can be harvested for the free lunch program as well! Collards are a win-win for our school system! Excess can be sold at the farmers market!

Eat More Collards!

Veritas's picture

Sounds like a plan to me!!! Maybe you should run for BOE

Now that's thinking out of the box!!!

What is this dudes deal with collards and sex? hes mentioned collards or sex with collards on at least 5 different threads. I think he needs an intervention. I'll start. Dear Ninja guy, this letter is to tell you how your constantly talking about rubbing collards on your genitals has affected my life. It hasnt. You are an idiot. Sincerely, R
Who's going next?

Busy Bee's picture

You joke Ninja, but when I was growing up in Acworth, GA (now there's a fine collard eating place if there ever was one) the principal of Acworth Elementary had his personal vegetable garden on the school grounds that was tended to by the school janitors. No, he didn't provide collards to feed the kids in the free lunch program, but he did occasionally give my mother (a second grade teacher) a mess of collards to take home when he was feeling magnanimous. He also had the cafeteria staff collect the food waste left over from lunch each day to be sold off as slop to a local hog farmer. I suspect that he was keeping the proceeds for himself rather than using it for any educational purpose, but that's the way things were done in Acworth in those days. Oh, the good ol' days...

Applications for free or reduced meals are filled out but no one checks validity of info provided, ie you don't have to provide a tax return to prove income. It's just another handout for those (and I agree that there are some needy families out there), but also some moochers/cheaters too. I don't know the relative percentages.

I know you have a lot of 'inside' information. I did a little research - and the National program has not changed that much since I administered it in a school with 3000 students. If you feel that no one checks the validity of the applications, you are wrong - and very few administrators would jeopardize their federal funding by knowingly approving invalid applications. Yes there are cheaters - just like there are those who seek loopholes in completing their income tax returns - but all Title I students who are identified in Fayette County do not necessarily qualify for the free lunch program. They may be getting additional help with their academics based on their test scores. We're just interested in your veracity in identifying them. (Don't give us any more information - or you'll be putting a career teacher in jeopardy.)

http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/

http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/governance/notices/iegs/iegs.htm

What is interesting is to wait outside the school and see what kind of vehicles come to pick up the free lunch bunch! Oh yeah--they don't all ride "Big Yella" ya know!

Veritas's picture

And just how would you assume to know who those children are that receive free and reduced..As they don't wear a sign.... Hmmm walkin a fine line aren't you

Nope, got reliable first hand info from a career 3rd grade teacher, who personally knew recipients and also had assigned duties in the pm to monitor student pickup. I don't do "rumor".

Veritas's picture

Normally The Prinipal and cafeteria staff are the only people with that info under the current system.... Only in rare instances would a teacher have this info....Rumors abound among teachers ( they are know to be notorious gossips) as well as citizens.... (maybe your source is a rare instance)
But check my avatar

Not Fayette County. Who do you think supervises applications? Of course teachers know. My source is golden!

Veritas's picture

But that is the Fayette county system ... And all public school systems procedure (teacher APPLICATION.. Principal / Cafeteria staff actual recipients.... as I said maybe yours is the rarity .

Third grade teachers in Fayette County identify students economic situation to others. Parents should be pleased to hear that. I sincerely doubt your veracity on this one AHG - but I'm not surprised at your trying to escape the TRUTH!

You should really read complete posts and not just glean what you want to support your position. Do you understand words "NOT FAYETTE COUNTY"? And I suppose your husband never, no never, discussed his job with you,huh?

Whatever. LOL I'm confused. Are you saying your reliable source is your wife? (But you don't remember when she retired?) I don't think any teacher or administrator would jeopardize their job by giving out information regarding the participants in the free lunch program. . . and I'm not the only one here who believes that. Leave it alone - before someone starts an investigation and a school loses their funds due to noncompliance,

I never said I didn't know when she retired--I said I was wrong about retirement & date of FERPA enactment. I also didn't say that info on individuals was passed to anyone--again you leap to conclusions to support your position. Now, you just go ahead and try to disprove what I just said. You'll have to invent some stuff because it isn't on here in hard copy!

[quote]Nope, got reliable first hand info from a career 3rd grade teacher, who personally knew recipients and also had assigned duties in the pm to monitor student pickup. I don't do "rumor".[/quote]

These words are yours. Please clarify that teacher was not pointing out individual students as they got on the bus. Was the teacher assuming that they all were 'free lunch' kids? Don't bother to answer. You're right and everyone else is wrong. So what's new? LOL

Veritas's picture

You and your Golden source do know there a laws protecting the privacy of student info? (FERPA)..If your source is giving you said info one that's unethical two illegal ...... Grounds for immediate dismissal ...
1 down 71 to go....... Just sayin

Source retired pprior to implementation of FIRPA.

Veritas's picture

Then your source is so far out of the loop and out dated that they have No clue as to how the system works or who is or is not
Free or reduced ... FERPA was signed into law in 1974

I was wrong. Source retired in 2004.

but FERPA only protects individual students from being named or identified. Percentages of students on free and reduced lunch are a matter of public record. I know since I just got done doing a masters thesis on block scheduling

Veritas's picture

FERPA protects individual students from being named And or identified including their participation in free or reduced also. Now percentages of students participating you are correct public info but not who those individuals are. Please read as we were speaking of a teacher identifying those students that are receiving that service ... I hope your grad courses taught you to read in context.

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