Cobb Schools Chief Financial Officer Brad Johnson won’t say what solutions he will offer to the board Thursday to resolve the $80 million deficit for fiscal year 2014, but he did say his staff will roll out a few options for them to discuss.
The group learned of the deficit in January.
“We’re going to present some solutions for handling education differently,” Johnson said.
He added that he didn’t want to disclose the ideas before presenting them to the board but said there are “some interesting ways of approaching education in a different manner.”
“It’s possible that the board may also entertain using fund balance (cash reserves) and a variety of different types of cuts,” Johnson said.
He did not say whether teacher layoffs, program cuts or furlough days could be in the mix.
“I think with a budget gap that size, everything has to be on the table, so we’re going to be pretty transparent about it and throw out some ideas, and we always try to protect the classroom as best we can,” he said.
Board Chair Randy Scamihorn said he hopes the classroom is the last place the district looks for cuts.
“I want alternatives,” he said. “If we have to use furlough days, then we need to justify if we have to lay teachers off.”
He has met with Johnson on and off over the last several weeks to throw around ideas for resolving the budget woes.
“My concern is always with the teacher-to-pupil ratio,” Scamihorn said. “It’s very important for the quality of education; at least I believe it is.”
Scamihorn said specifics regarding suggestions will also be up to the public and his fellow board members.
“I’m concerned because the goal is quality education for our students, so I certainly want to do what’s best for our students and, if possible, follow the public’s advice, but there will be tradeoffs and there’s no way around that,” he said.
Scamihorn also said the board will have to take into consideration the passage or failure of SPLOST IV and cuts from the state.
Johnson anticipates the board approving its final 2014 budget sometime in May, but it’s required by the state to approve it by June 30.
Contracts for top execs up for renewal
Contracts for Cobb Superintendent Michael Hinojosa’s administrative staff, which includes seven central-office staff members who oversee various departments, are up for renewal during Thursday night’s meeting.
The board will consider one-year contracts for Cheryl Hungerford, deputy superintendent of leadership and learning; Angela Huff, chief of staff; Michael Shanahan, chief human resources officer; Amy Krause, chief academic officer; Brad Johnson, chief financial officer; Chris Ragsdale, deputy superintendent of operations; and Jay Dillon, director of communications.
According to open.georgia.gov and previous board personnel sheets, Hungerford’s salary in 2012 was about $125,000; Huff, $110,000; Shanahan, $125,000; Krause, $114,000; Johnson, $132,000; Ragsdale, $137,000; and Dillon, $87,000.
Contracts up for approval
The board will also consider approving nearly $3.2 million in construction projects at seven different schools:
- * A $1,076,000 contract for renovations at Lewis Elementary School. The project is 55 percent, or $383,390, over budget;
- A $645,000 contract for renovations at Compton Elementary School. The project is 24 percent, or $207,206, under budget;
- A $419,900 contract for renovations at Dowell Elementary School. The project is 21 percent, or $108,482, under budget
- A $404,238 contract for renovations at Shallowford Falls and Timber Ridge elementary schools. The projects are 9 percent, or $39,762, under budget;
- A $396,400 contract for new flooring and painting at Awtrey Middle School. The project is 61 percent, or $249,814, under budget;
- A $230,300 contract for renovations at Murdock Elementary School. The project is 24 percent, or $73,693, under budget.
These projects will all be funded by SPLOST III and are estimated to be complete sometime before the end of July.
The regular meeting will begin at 7 p.m. with public comment and will be in the district board room, 514 Glover Street, Marietta.