MCSD may get more money from state, but still underfunded due to - WRBL

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MCSD may get more money from state, but still underfunded due to rising costs

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal recommended and the House voted to approve a $20.8 billion FY15 budget for public. Even with state revenue projected to grow, the expenditure budget does not restore the billions of dollars in cuts made during the past five years.

The vote Monday night approved the following parameters for how to move forward with the budget process:

  • 1.5 mils for Chattahoochee Valley Regional Library System
  • Personnel reductions to be adjusted through repurposing employees based on skill level and certification, when possible
  • 1/4 mil Capital Set Aside
  • Pass along step increase to qualifying personnel
  • Develop a budget and calendar with no Work Schedule Adjustment (WSA) Days
  • Retain Operating millage rate at 23.37 mills, if possible
  • Maintain a Fund Balance consistent with best practice

When adjusted for inflation, the state funding per student is estimated to be nearly 10% lower than it was in 2002. Even so, Board member John Wells is confident the children's education will not be compromised.

“Even though we've had adjustments from the state in a downward spiral for the last 8 or 10 years, our district is in sound, financial condition and we care for the programs in all that need to be cared for to educate children,” says Wells.

Superintendent David Lewis says the district will implement zero-based budgeting, which means instead of taking last year's line item for each department as a benchmark, each department will start at 0. One of his goals is to avoid furlough days.

“We're gonna try and make sure that we have full opportunity for our students to have access to a viable curriculum and a full calendar year,” says Lewis.

A rise in healthcare costs and a scheduled increase in teachers' retirement funds, will force the school district to come up with different ways to balance the budget.

“There appears to be a 10 million dollar deficit,” says Lewis. “So that's where we have to look at different options, and again, our focus will be on the classroom doing those things that we possibly do to ensure that our students have a full calendar year of school.”

Lewis says one of the different options may be a change in high school scheduling. The proposal switches from the block scheduling to a seven-period schedule with more yearlong classes. The change is expected to save about 4 million dollars and high school personnel is expected to be cut by 15%, but those cuts will be handled through relocation and attrition, rather than layoffs.

The school board plans to adopt the final budget for FY 2015 on June 16th.

Other Board Matters

  • The board was scheduled to vote on the charter renewal of Reese Road Leadership Academy, but it was postponed to next month due to the need for additional data.
  • The board voted unanimously to approve the ban of electronic cigarettes on school property.

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David Hurst

David Hurst, a graduate of the Univ. of Georgia, focuses on how your tax dollars are being spent.
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