In reading the article in today’s AJC regarding [the 5/22 budget] meeting, it seems that the county is trying to fill a $70m budget gap due to increased healthcare and retirement benefits. I understand that healthcare costs are rising, however, retirement benefits should be slashed. Nobody in the private sector receives retirement benefits. So, if retirement is a rising cost, it should be mitigated in that any incoming new teacher will not receive retirement benefits just as anyone in the private sector.
Many PTAs in the area are helping to fund their schools. They provide cleaning supplies, stipends for teachers to purchase supplies, provide substitute teachers, and purchase playground equipment for the schools. The PTAs should not have to provide basic supplies to the schools in order for them to function properly, the county should provide those items. This demonstrates how inefficiently the county is running the schools.
Montessori is once again on the agenda for removing from schools as well. I think this is a HUGE mistake. The Montessori class room equipment is already purchased and the classes use fewer consumables, like paper, pencils, etc., than traditional classrooms. Montessori is a low cost option for parents and is part of the reason we moved into the school district. Please fight to not remove the Montessori from the schools.
I saw that the county is considering removing Pre-K as an option to save money. Doesn’t the lottery pay for Pre-k? So, why cut pre-k? That is crazy.
Also, I do not understand how the school board is complaining about money when they were able to cover a budget shortfall this year of over $40m by reallocating some funds.
What’s up with that?
Nancy Jester, DeKalb County Board Of Education says on May 23, 2012 at 7:53 am Edit
As a public school system we are required to participate in the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS). You can find out more about this entity by going to their website. The TRS sets the rates that employees and the district must pay into the system. DeKalb does not have any control over these rates. You can view the contribution rates from 1980 here.
I agree! The new administration is looking at how provisions are procured for schools.
My understanding is that the proposal is to cut the extra teacher allotment for Montessori programs but not the offering of Montessori itself. The Board has received a list of cuts that include the elimination of extra teacher allotments not just for Montessori but all extra magnet teacher allotments as well. This is not eliminating the programs just the extra teachers that had been given to these programs that reduced class size relative to the class size at other schools in DeKalb. So, Montessori and Magnet programs can operate but will have the same class size situations as every other school. If your school is a Title I school, your principal can chose to use some of your Title I funding to reduce class size by adding staff. This year more Title I funding will be pushed to the schools. The estimate that I am hearing is $36 million will be made available to the Title I schools in the district. By comparison, last year only $18 million out of the $42 million the county received in Title I funding was pushed to the schools. So, if your school is Title I then these funds can be used to reduce class size.
Unfortunately, Pre-K is not fully funded by the state lottery. The funding we receive from the state covers about one half of our costs. There are also implications that cause the district to lose some of our state QBE funding when we house Pre-K within an elementary school. Most other metro districts do not offer pre-k within their schools. There are private Pre-K options that coordinate with “Bright from the start”. Parents can find a private Pre-K provider that participates in the public Pre-K program and learn more about Georgia’s Pre-K programs by visiting the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning website.
Previous Budget Shortfall
I think you are referring to the SPLOST III projected shortfall issue. SPLOST money is not allowed to be used for the operational budget. SPLOST is solely used for capital improvements pursuant to the list of projects brought before the voters to approve. Recently the voters approved a SPLOST IV referendum. SPLOST III had a number of budgeting problems culminating in projecting a shortfall that would hit toward the end of this year without adjusting the projects. The decisions creating these problems for SPLOST III were made before I was on the board. Based on several factors some of the projects were able to be moved from the SPLOST III list to the SPLOST IV list; alleviating the projected shortfall for the overall building program. Again, this did not involve any money that could be used for school operations.