Cobb board to hear proposals to remedy $80M budget deficit
by Lindsay Field
March 20, 2013 12:45 AM | 4620 views | 14 14 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Randy Scamihorn
Randy Scamihorn
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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.

Comments
(14)
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anonymous
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March 25, 2013
wow this is just crazy every year it is something. Now the superintendent and all his staff are getting a raise. But your teachers and paraprofessional have not had a raise in six years or more. People education is suppose to be the most imprtant thing. We are not looking at what is important. Are students is really going to be lacking education if we don't get this together and if we don't get the money there will be no students to teach.
TeacherPay
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March 22, 2013
Well i find it very interesting that teachers are once again being asked to take the brunt of the cuts. We have not had a raise in over six years. Does anyone realize the cost of living has also increased, but our pay has not. One major point: Why are teachers having their pay cut when the Superintendent is receiving a pay raise. Where is the leadership in that. As always the ones who directly impact children's lives are the same ones who bare the brunt of the cuts. Its time to shift the focus to the central office.
dustoff
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March 22, 2013
Just who is the idiot overseeing the construction projects, every one of them listed are over budget, so what about the rest of their open contracts.

Either its piss poor design and engineering, shoddy contractors or pay offs or a combination of all.

And you wonder why no one trusts the BOE.

westcobb
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March 20, 2013
Why don't they post the salaries of the teachers. The ones that stay at school working for a 12 hr day! What about the parapros that help with the children and work without getting a lunch or break? It is sad that they county officials make so much more than he teachers that do all the work.
anonymous
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March 21, 2013
They don't post teacher salaries because there are people like myself that get sick to their stomach hearing a bunch of whiners wanting more money when they get months and months off work every year...never work weekends, etc.
Really anonymous
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March 21, 2013
Are you joking? Teachers never work weekends? I have news for clueless people such as yourself. We all work weekends because that is when lesson plans are created and grading papers occurs. Another clue for you, teacher salaries are open to the public if you would go on the CCSD website under Human Resources to compensation. We don't get paid for all the days we have off either and do not receive paid holidays like businesses. My school has after school tutoring and we have Saturday School from 8-11:00am. You wouldn't last one day in my shoes! I am not complaining about my job at all. I do complain about people like you who are obviously clueless! Please don't comment on subjects of which you are ignorant!
gno
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April 29, 2013
Well, anonymous, it's understandable why you have so little regard for teachers. The educational system has certainly failed YOU.
JoEllen Smith
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March 20, 2013


“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.”

All I can say is thank you! As a strong supporter myself of small classes, led by strong teachers, that is the most important item to focus on with the current budget. This is where "the rubber meets the road."

Just Sayin'.....
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March 20, 2013
Gee, but thanks to yesterday's vote we sure will have pretty buildings to sit in 4 days a week. Just watch.....4 day school week and reduced class time. Gee.....love it!!!! Thanks John Loud and the Chamber folks.
Wrong again
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March 20, 2013
A four day school week is not reducing class time. School begins at 7:50 am, each class has a 20 minute recess, 45 minute specials, and 30 minute lunch. The children actually only have about 4.5 hours of instructional time. Adding one hour a day will give them less interruptions and longer focused periods. If you would educate yourself by researching the concept, it would make more sense than making baseless comments! It is people such as yourself, who complain at every turn. You want lower property taxes, lower salaries for teachers, yet you want the school system to perform miracles with your children. Schools are not babysitters, children are at school to be educated and it is the parents job to be involved in that process. Stop being part of the problem and become part of the solution! Raising class sizes, cutting the school year down to 175 days and lower teacher pay is getting us nowhere!
Just Sayin'....
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March 21, 2013
Wrong Again.....please follow along. Last year the state allowed districts to reduce "seat" time for all students in Georgia schools. That has not been changed. So, once they suggest the 4 day week....and they more than likely will...they will not institute the full time lost by giving up the extra day. ALSO, I do not want the schools to babysit my children. I have no need for a babysitter. I want the schools to educate my children...and yes....I think teachers should be paid more. My children are performing at accelerated levels in their schools, however, we can only accommodate the children who don't perform at level....so that is frustrating, yet an argument for another day. I don't want lower property taxes, and indeed think they should be high enough to maintain standards.

So, please go back and re-read my comments. They were meant to be a dig at the pro-SPLOST folks who can only focus on building projects and not actually educating our children. This is called sarcasm.
Out of the box
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March 20, 2013
The board does not take any suggestions into account. It is always the same solutions that hurt the teachers and students. There are several counties through out the US who have gone to a 4 day school week and save millions. School is NOT a babysitting service and day cares will adjust. 4 day school weeks are praised in the communities who have gone this route. The students go one extra hour a day. There are no meetings for teachers during the week and the teachers take care of meeting every other week on the students 5th day off. That one day the teachers come in twice a month is for meetings, conferences, etc. It saves in transportation, one less day of free breakfast and lunch, saves on utilities bills, less employee and student absences and the employees and parents of those counties love the schedule.
right choice
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March 20, 2013
Out of the box... I agree. 4 day weeks would be great. No one would complain about about not getting fall or winter break. We might save enough money to reduce class size and add more teachers. That 5th day could be used for tutoring as well. I think it at least deserves some consideration
Teacher 17
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March 24, 2013
We have to consider the students. I have 17 years experience as a teacher and twelve as a parent. That extra hour seems great on paper. The kids are DRAINED at the close of the day. Imagine adding on an hour to your workday.
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