Projected budget shows $20-35M shortfall
by Kathryn Malone
kmalone@mdjonline.com
January 18, 2011 12:00 AM | 2492 views | 8 8 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA - The Cobb County School District released preliminary budget numbers for the 2012 fiscal year, which detail a shortfall of $20 to $35 million and five furlough days for all eligible employees.

While CFO Mike Addison warned that the budget numbers and assumptions were based on very premature projections about state and local revenue, he admitted, "this early projection does serve to highlight the fact that we are facing another very challenging year for the budget."

FY12 begins July 1.

Based on last year's numbers, Addison and his staff assumed that the property tax revenue will see a 7 percent decline, but said that was a "pure guess." Like last year, the budget will be set at 20 mills, Addison said, meaning that the board would again have to vote to use excess funds from SPLOST II to buy down the milliage rate to its current rate of 18.9 mills.

"We also assume that the budget will be built on a property tax rate of 20 mills," Addison said. "As you recall, we did the same thing for the FY11 budget, and the board then declared a SPLOST II excess in an amount sufficient to roll back the millage to an 18.9 rate, which has been the rate in effect for several years."

The budget assumes a decline of 5 percent to 7 percent in state revenue funds, and a loss of nearly $30 million in funds from the Federal Stabilization or Jobs Funds. The district plans to use $9.4 million of the money it reserved from the FY11 jobs funds to help balance the budget in FY12.

The district expects it will maintain its current staffing and again delay salary step increases for all eligible employees for a half year. The FY12 budget, which has to be approved by June 30, will include a 175-day school year again next year and five furlough days for all eligible employees.

Last year, the district faced an unprecedented budget shortfall of $126.7 million, and cut more than 1,000 teachers, 68 central office and supporting staffers, 55 school or graduation counselors, 112 custodial positions and 100 bus drivers. In June, the board approved an $819.4 million budget for FY11.

Despite the massive layoffs, the district eventually hired back many of the same positions it cut, causing anxiety and mistrust of the central office among teachers and the public.

Tim Stultz, who is new to the board and the budget process, said he hopes to avoid any substantial layoffs and rehiring like last year.

"We need to be able to try to get a good grasp on who will be leaving the system on their own," Stultz said.

Stultz also said he does not want to go the same route as the previous board did last year, using SPLOST II funds to buy down the millage rate. He said he expects that he and his colleagues will look at all possible ways to cut the district's costs.

"It's definitely another difficult budget," he said. "But I do not believe raising the millage and using the SPLOST money to buy it down is the way that we should be going."
Comments
(8)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
anonymous
|
January 19, 2011
with the salary reductions that have happened and the future still looking dismal for salary increases, why does anyone who has the time and years to retire not go ahead and do it? The teacher retirement plan is based on the top two years salary. You will not see a higher salary for 4-5 years unless you are a fortunate one to get a promotion. I bet you see a lot of folks jumping ship this year since many of people at the central office have enough years to go.
Radical Surgery
|
January 19, 2011
What we have seen over the past 3 years will not reverse itself any time soon. The problems are obvious- (1)declining property values that will continue to decline, (2)huge growing numbers of aging homeowners qualifying for senior exemptions and paying less in school taxes, (3)over-reaching recent new school construction in areas where expected growth will not happen, (4) continuing state aid cuts (5) stagnant/declining enrollment in most of the County (6) increasing poverty and social issues and (7) eroding voter support for SPLOST. These problems are massive, structural and pervasive and won't solve themselves by the kinds of marginal sniping comments about teacher pay posted below. CCSD needs to get busy on a credible, creative long range plan that includes school closures, substantial administrative restructuring, redistricting and meaningful cost control. Will that happen? Not a snowball's chance. This system is rudderless and in big, big trouble. Maybe after another decade of pain, futility and decling educational quality somebody on the School Board might wake up and try to fix the problem- but certainly not this group. Better get used to it teachers.
Re:Anonymous
|
January 19, 2011
Sir, our steps increases are a joke and noone complains that we do not receive them. We have had our salaries cut, furlough days, and benefits increase so much that my salary has decreased every year for the last four years. In all fairness, I have not had a decent increase in pay for over 6 years or so, because every year they increase our benefits somuch it eats up any small increase we had received. We definitely do not teach for the money.
Cobb Parent
|
January 18, 2011
Please do not cut anymore instructional days, we are now down to 171(175-5 snow days, plus one makeup day announced for March = 171),not to mention all of the early release days! I am tired of hearing that there are 180 days, there are not.
anonymous
|
January 18, 2011
but the budget is 80 % salaries, so we can not make cuts to anything! get real, man! I bet they could find a few percent to save in discretionary funds or not fill a few vacant positions and take care of it quick, but the good old boy network will not allow it. No step increases again is one way to capture a percent or two. If I had a choice in a job between no raise and no job, I will take no raise any day but the people spoiled by automatic increases and cost of living bumps over the years will scream.
Watcher...
|
January 18, 2011
I know that this may seem difficult for CCSD Bureaucrats to understand, but the high end, $ 35 million, of the shortfall is just over 4% of the FY 2011 budget.

Most private businesses would quickly identify 4% of cost reductions and move on.

I suggest that the CCSD Board do the same.

Get it DONE!
Cobb Observer
|
January 18, 2011
I wonder why Stultz is resisting a Splost II millage buy-down. Would he rather lay off personnel? The story offered no explanation of this position.
anonymous
|
January 18, 2011
Time to buckle down and not make unneeded purchases
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides