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DeKalb School Budget Approved

Contentious meeting yields "a budget we can work with."

The DeKalb County Board of Education now has an $8.3 million reserve fund, following a heated debate Thursday evening at the district's headquarters in Stone Mountain.

The final vote on the new budget was 5-4. The board faced an $85 million budget deficit. "It was a hard decision. There were hard choices across the board," said DeKalb School System spokesman Walter Woods. "We've been deliberating for weeks, and now we have a budget we can work with."

The main points of the budget are:

  • There are four furlough days on the current calendar; there will be an additional two furlough days for a total of six furlough days, for Central Office and educators.
  • Additional two students per class, standard and special education classes.
  • A 1-mill tax increase, which is about $80 on a $200,000 house per year.
  • Fernbank's budget has been reduced by $1.9 million from its budget of $5 million. It will remain open as a fully functioning science center.

"If this is what they can do to operate the budget, we still have to put the children first," said Lucinda O'Neal, a social studies teacher at Redan Middle School, where she's taught for at least ten years. "As an educator, I'm committed."

Tom L. June 22, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Wow. No wonder our elected officials can't lead a direct discussion on education issues, nor follow a simple train of thought. They are just like their constituents! What started as a discussion of unfair treatment of teachers by our BOE went to a pet peeve of a xenophobic and ended up with should Brookhaven be a city. My my my, we can't follow through with a single thought. If I were an elected official I would never fear a recall from a population that jumps from one shiny object to the next as quickly as possible. No way could we hold those elected accountable...
Don Green June 23, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Keep soaking the tax payers to pay for your failed school system. I was at Cross Keys HS today and the A/C is running when nobody is in the building, try turning it off and save us some money!
Eric H June 25, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Yes this is most unfortunate, I wish they would have focused more on cutting central office staff and salaries as well as non core education areas. The school capital budget also seems excessive while spent with SPLOST dollars I still don't see how building more parking spaces or entrance roads improves education.
Eric H June 25, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Hire bilingual teachers. All children are coming from parents paying tax dollars, since the schools are largely funded by property taxes and sales taxes. In Suffolk County NY they have an innovative program starting in 1st grade where the spanish speaking kids learn english while english speaking kids learn spanish. Teaching a 2nd language at a young age as immeasurable educational benefits. Yes people in apartments pay property taxes through rent. And while this only effects the county side, apartments don't get the HOST credit against the county taxes.
Barbara Fountain June 30, 2012 at 02:31 PM
The HUGE salaries at the Palace should have been the first cuts. And I mean huge cuts, along with the unneeded "coaches". There are many ass't. superintendent positions that could be eliminated also! They instead cut needed clerical positions.

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