Fayette teachers’ pay to be restored?

Superintendent Jody Barrow makes a point at an August Board of Education planning retreat. Photo/Ben Nelms.

With news of more money in the Fayette County School System’s bank account than expected — 15 times more — a lot of teachers want their pay restored to pre-recession levels.

Maybe, partially, says Superintendent Jody Barrow, but let’s go slow.

There are about 1,346 teachers, part of the approximately 3,200 system employees, according to system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach.

[See letters about teachers' pay here, here and here.]

An open letter to Fayette County School System employees from Barrow addressing the priority of eliminating the two remaining furlough days was discussed at the Monday meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education.

“After years of lost revenue, particularly at the local and state levels, we are beginning to see what looks like an economic uptick in Fayette County and Georgia,” Barrow said in the letter. “Tax revenues have been higher than projected, and that, coupled with our balanced budget, has helped the school system begin to restore its fund balance. Although this is good, we have to proceed slowly and with caution.”

Although the system is projected to have a fund balance in excess of $16 million at year’s end, it was a different day several years ago when Fayette County was in the throes of the Great Recession. It was during that time when the school board created five furlough days for school system employees and instituted a wide-ranging number of cost-cutting measures.

It was a time when the school system was losing local tax revenue from falling property values and losing state revenues when total student enrollment decreased, sometimes by a few hundred students per year.

Barrow said a priority for the current budget is to look at restoring pay by eliminating the two existing furlough days from the school calendar.

“When we have a clearer picture of our budget position, after the November/December revenue collections come in, we will be in a better position to make concrete recommendations to the school board for their consideration,” Barrow said.

In a related matter, school board member Barry Marchman in a question pertaining to the budget and forecasting asked finance director Tom Gray if there was a way to provide a range of possibilities that could give an indication on how the year, and the fund balance, would end at the completion of the fiscal year each June 30.

Gray said he would work to provide that type of analysis.

The system serves a little over 20,000 students.

aliquando
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Why?

Because teacher morale is low. We have the lowest paid teachers in metro Atlanta.

G35 Dude
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aliquando-Rumor

And our BOE employees (not just teachers) were the lowest paid before the cuts. Now that they have found some money the rumor is that they want to build a new transportation department instead of giving back the money they took from employees.

OLDNCR
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GDude

I certainly hope that this is just a rumor. I mean if their excuse is that they need to move slow as they don't know what the future holds they could do a one time bonus instead of building more unneeded buildings.

G35 Dude
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If you move slow be careful

If we need to move slow just make sure that we do. If the BOE decides to spend this money on something other than, not just teachers, but all school employees, we need to attend a meeting and demand to be told why!!!

Rec Guy
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FCBOE - fact or fiction?

FCBOE underestimated their fund balance by $15M? I can understand variances to budgets, but this sounds like incompetence.
Over the past few years, FCBOE has closed schools, reduced teacher's pay, cut the para-professional staff, and increased class sizes based on their budget and forecasts. Given the gross understatement of $15M in revenues, who knows if their past actions were based on financial fact of fiction.

They say the financial position will become clearer in November/December which makes no sense. Tax bills are already out to residents, upcoming revenues are no mystery. FCBOE please get your act together. You are embarrassing us.