School Board Makes More Budget Cuts, Three Proposed New Supplement Positions Eliminated

July 12, 2013
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby

The DeKalb County Board of Education revisited its proposed budget for the 2013-14 year Thursday night, making more than the $147,000 in cuts requested by the county budget committee.

Removed from the proposed spending plan are two new assistant soccer coaches, one for the girls and one for the boys program at DCHS and a proposed new cross country coaching supplement. Total savings from those cuts combined comes to $8,355. A proposed new teaching position in the gifted program will be cut to part time. A previously federally funded special education teaching position, to be funded from the general purpose (local school budget) will be cut to part time.

Altogether, cuts were made in varying amounts from a total of thirty six line items in the proposed budget for a total of $148,355, more than meeting the request of the county budget committee. "We took $500 here and $1,000 there in different places, in several different categories, just a little here and a little there to come up with the amount of cuts that was requested," said Director of Schools Mark Willoughby.

While school officials had anticipated having to use up to $1.2 million of school reserves to balance the 2012-13 budget, the school system actually ended up in the black for the year. "We were fortunate this year to end without using any of our reserves. This budget does not request a tax increase to the county. This budget is again tight and we hope we can come out ahead again next year without using any reserves," said Willoughby.

The proposed school budget does not include a property tax increase. The rate for schools would remain at 55 cents per $100 of assessed value. However, the budget proposes to use $1,237,960 of school BEP reserves and fund balance if needed to balance the budget by the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Total school revenues come to $19,314,324 including $14,004,000 in State Basic Education Program funds and $2,362,429 in current property tax funds. Total school expenditures are $20,478,445.

In order to meet requirements of the federal Affordable Health Care Act, the budget includes funds to offer single coverage health insurance to all full time classified employees (support staff) who want it, beginning January 1, 2014. Employees who take the school system up on its offer will have to pay ninety dollars per month. The school system will cover the rest. No additional insurance benefit will be offered to certified personnel.

The proposed budget calls for certified employees to receive a one time bonus instead of a 1.5% pay raise. Director Willoughby said in a previous meeting that approximately $40,000 in state funds will pay for the bonuses which comes to about $160 per employee.

The budget includes funding for two new teacher positions at DeKalb Middle School

One new P.E. teacher at Northside Elementary School

One new extra teacher position (instead of two) which may or may not be needed depending upon enrollment at the elementary school level: (position not to be filled if not needed)

One full time and one part time federal teacher positions moving to general purpose schools (local budget)

Under the Gifted Education Program: One new gifted part time position:

Under Special Education Program: A half time psychologist

Other new positions included in the budget:

Assistant band director (working primarily at DeKalb West School) (supplement)

Two new Middle School Soccer Coaches (supplement)

One baseball coach at DeKalb West School (supplement)

The budget also includes a $4,150 pay raise for the Transportation Supervisor

The county budget committee will meet tonight (Friday) at 6:00 p.m. at the courthouse to act on the proposed school budget.

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