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Fayette BoE restores school system pay cut

It was only a matter of time. The remaining 3 percent of the larger 4.5 percent pay cut to Fayette County School System employees two years ago will be restored effective May 1.

After some discussion and a recommendation from Superintendent Jeff Bearden, the Fayette County Board of Education voted 3-2 to restore the cut immediately.

The fundamental question was not whether to restore the remaining portion of the cut since all board members had stated their desire to do so on numerous occasions, but rather whether to restore the cut effective May 1 or wait for budget figures in the next few weeks that would shed light on longer-term school system finances.

By the end of a discussion that was essentially a repeat of one held the previous week and on prior occasions, the motion to restore pay on May 1 came with a 3-2 vote. Voting in favor of the motion were board members Janet Smola, Terri Smith and Sam Tolbert. Opposed were Marion Key and Chairman Bob Todd.

The discussion on the question between board members came essentially from two lines of reasoning. One line called for restoring the pay on May 1 and deal with any potential future shortfall of school system finances if and when that time came, including taking back the restored pay if necessary, either through additional pay cuts or by requiring furlough days.

The other line of reasoning said that it would be better to know more about the financial outlook so that the pay, once restored could remain in place without the potential for having salaries cut again. That information would ostensibly be available in a few weeks when the board will have to adopt a new budget that begins July 1.

The recommendation by Bearden was to restore the 3 percent on May 1. Asked about the basis for the recommendation, Bearden said he based it on conversations with individual board members last week.

The Fayette County Board of Eduction in January voted unanimously to restore one-third of the 4.5 percent amount that had been cut two years ago when the school system faced an operating deficit.

The public comments portion of the meeting prior to the discussion and vote to restore the three percent cut included comments from a dozen speakers, all school system employees or the members of employees’ families.

All asked the board to restore the pay cut on May 1. A number of those referenced the $19 million fund balance projected for June 30.
One of the employees said she had seen sadness of the faces of employees and had seen morale go down when the 4.5 percent pay cut was implemented two years ago.

Fayette Association of Educators representative Dana Camp in her statement said that school system employees are overwhelmingly willing to run the risk of having to take furlough days in the future if school system finances require another pay decrease.



Thank you Dr Bearden for stepping up to the plate even if Dr Todd couldn't.

How is it stepping up when the good doctor could not HONESTLY tell you right what that budge is going to be for the county next year. He doesn't know the final state budget, he doesn't know the final local budget, he doesn't know the final federal student count $, how in the heck is this stepping up?
Do you see the mess in Clayton county right now as far as them giving money out to make up for short comings with money now to have to TAKE it back again?
Why not wait until June/July and see what the bottom line on all those numbers are? Can you imagine running a home budget on this logic? I hope and pray there aren't any surprises, because if you think for a second the teacher morale is low now, try doing this and then in September taking more money back or furloughing days.
We all better keep our fingers cross, pray or rub budda's belly or a combo of all three!
Somebody call 911!

Based on some board member comments and most of the speakers during the comment section that is the risk they are willing to take. Get the money now and worry about it later. The speakers claim that if needed they will gladly give it back in two years.

Two years ago, Dr. Todd did not know "the final state budget, the final local budget, and the final federal student count money" (your words). That didn't stop him from voting to take away pay from employees.

So why is he is so suddenly concerned about knowing the final numbers? The final state numbers for 2010-2011 were received just THIS month. The school board HAS to rely on projections, not final numbers. Dr. Todd knows this, and if you were not so ill-informed, you would know it also.

Veritas's picture

The question was not whether to give the pay back or not but when and how( step by step or all at once)
 Soundofm you are truly ignorant
So, our new super finds the advice and wishes of the board (one of whom “Forgets about 1 million of her own personal finances and another who’ s associate degree in Psychology and verified lies of financial experience on wall street are more valid than that of council based on financial status, comptrollers accountants and financial data.
“The recommendation by Bearden was to restore the 3 percent on May 1. Asked about the basis for the recommendation, Bearden said he based it on conversations with individual board members last week.”
Then tries to pass the buck to the board. The primary job of a superintendent is to develop and present budget and budgetary matters to the board for approval.

May 1st rush to judgement instead of waiting the insufferable 2 months till July for a better look at finances.

Jeffery not making a very good first impression.
For the teachers sake Lets pray what’s happening in Clayton doesn’t happen here.

I'm a bit puzzled that the BOE couldn't wait a few more weeks for figures that would have given a strong financial basis for a yes/no decision on restoring pay cuts.

The fact that three members basically jumped the gun and committed monies to teachers without first determining if there was adequate funding in place is troublesome.

But then, Janet Smola has a background as a wizardess on Wall Street, so what do I know?

suggarfoot's picture

"Furthermore, I think Dr. Todd would find another excuse in a couple of months to avoid returning the pay. Smith and Smola kept their word and voted to return the pay loss (though, actually it should have been returned months ago). Todd and Key broke their promise. Employees will not forget what has occurred."

What I just reprinted is Smola and Smith prepping for re election next year. Smola is a gutter fighter and never takes the high road. She brands, then tries to intimidate others into submission. It is a tactic that has worked for her so far.

She doesn't seem to have the financial background she 'alludes' to. People have done their homework. She went to college around 2 years and majored in psychology or sociology. She doesn't even have a 4 yr degree. We now have on the board, two people with extensive degrees, and knowledge, as well as a lifelong teacher. These are the kind of people we need for her position, not her.(someone who wants to baffle you with their BS)

She is by far the least educated of any on the board, but the biggest mouth, and it's always her way or no way attitude. That is very dangerous for the citizen's welfare. You have only to look at Rivers Elementary, a multi million dollar school, sitting with less than 40 kids to see her wisdom. There is where the teachers pay went. If she wants to learn to manage money, let her go back to college and get some sort of degree, that is what most people do. Most wouldn't put themselves in a position above their knowlege and ask others to live with the financial devestation.

The last election, Smola promised the teachers the sun and the moon, and as soon as the election was over, took it back.

She is just getting an early start this year trying to make herself the good guy,(and of course trying to smear Todd in the process...that is the way she does it)

Some part of her feels she has to smear...always.

If you recall last year she was caught red handed by nothing less than a lawyer that lives in the Whitewater school area. It when Dr Todd was trying to get re elected. She told the lawyer that Dr Todd wanted to redistrict their area to go to another school. Nothing less than the sup of schools told the man it was a lie. She isn't too bright to peddle her lies to lawyers. This year everyone is waiting. People are on her 'specialized' email trees, etc... and they are waiting for the ca ca to start flowing.

For sure, she can't run on her background and win. She must feel that way too or she wouldn't try to smear.

Dr Todd wanted to wait a couple of weeks to make ..sure.. NO ONE WOULD BE HURT. He has a son that teaches, he was a teacher, so was his wife, and so was Marion Key and her husband. There is no one that wants to give the money back as bad as they. What is going on with them is that they wanted to be sure. There is nothing worse than taking the money away a second time, or fur lowing the teaches and not paying them.

Smola has a son that teaches and he is very junior, and I've heard...still not accredited. If there does have to be cuts, I'm sure he won't be touched.

streetcleaner's picture

What type tax revenue forecast did the Tax Assesor's Office provide for the FYE 2012 before this decision was made?

When the pay cut was approved 2 years ago, the school's finance office said the system had to do so in order to avoid a deficit. It is now clear that the finance department was wrong. The school system had a large surplus the next year and now projects an even larger one ($20 million) for June 30.

Some are arguing (on this blog) that the money should not be given back to employees right now. WHY should the county wait a few more months to decide whether or not to return money that should NEVER have been taken? What kind of logic is that?

Furthermore, I think Dr. Todd would find another excuse in a couple of months to avoid returning the pay. Smith and Smola kept their word and voted to return the pay loss (though, actually it should have been returned months ago). Todd and Key broke their promise. Employees will not forget what has occurred.

I do hope your rosy picture of plenty of money comes true.

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