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Cobb school board looks for $86 million in cuts
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Cobb school board looks for $86 million in cuts

Cobb school board looks for $86 million in cuts
Photo Credit: Johnny Crawford, jcrawford@ajc.com
Cobb County Superintendent Michael Hinojosa speaks during the school board meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012.

Cobb school board looks for $86 million in cuts

 Cobb school board members have until the end of June to come up with more than 86-million dollars in budget cuts. But when doing away with arts and music programs was suggested -- parents rebelled.

“It would cause a lot of outcry,” said Board Member Kathleen Angelucci.

Indeed, she and other board members said their phones have been ringing incessantly ever since the idea first surfaced, merely one among many options put on the table by school officials scouring the district for any and all options.

But not all options were acceptable to board members. When Board Chairman Randy Scamihorn said he asked them if anyone was interested in cutting money for arts and music, “not one of them raised their hand.”

But that still leaves the question, where will the Cobb School District cut more than 10-percent of its budget? Board members will try to answer that question in another specially called meeting on Monday.

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News

  • Polk County Sheriff Johnny Moats isn’t naming names, but the six inmates who rescued an officer during a work detail last Friday will serve reduced sentences. Many of the six men who rushed to help the officer who’d passed out in the afternoon heat haven’t even been sentenced yet, Moats told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “If I’m in court when they go, I would stand up and let them know what they did,” Moats said. MORE: 6 inmates save officer who passed out during work detail After the officer collapsed, one of the inmates grabbed the man’s work phone and called 911, according to the sheriff's office. The inmates also took off the man’s outer carrier vest in an attempt to help cool him off.  Moats said prisoners in Polk County jail already earn two days time served for every day they spend in the county jail. Those who volunteer for work detail earn three days for every one. Moats said he would give these men credit for four days for every one served.  “I can’t do that if they are sentenced to prison,” Moats said. It’s what is traditionally called “time off for good behavior” and applied to any future sentence.   In other news:
  • The Latest on Senate Republicans' health care bill (all times local): 10 p.m. Medical organizations and other interest groups are weighing in on the Senate Republican health care bill, and they have problems with the proposal. The American Academy of Pediatrics says the bill would hurt children by scaling back Medicaid. America's Essential Hospitals says the version the Senate released Thursday might lead to hospitals reducing services or closing. The Association of American Medical Colleges says it would leave millions of people without health coverage. AARP agrees with that assessment and is calling on every senator to vote no. The American Medical Association is still reviewing the plan, but says it strongly opposes limits on Medicaid spending. And the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse says the proposal will crush efforts to ending the opioid addiction epidemic. __ 6:15 p.m. The trade association for Catholic hospitals and nursing homes says it strongly opposes the Senate Republican health care bill, warning it would have a 'devastating impact' on the poor and frail. Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, says Congress should start over with a bipartisan approach. Keehan says, 'The small tweaks made in the newly released Senate bill do not change the fact that millions will lose their health care, especially through a complete restructuring and deep federal funding reduction to the Medicaid program.' Former President Barack Obama once credited Keehan for helping pass the Affordable Care Act, now in Republican crosshairs. Keehan publicly supported the legislation at critical points in the 2009-10 congressional debate that led to its passage. ___ 6:10 p.m. AARP is blasting the Senate Republican health care bill and calling on every senator to vote no. AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond said in a statement Thursday that the bill would hit millions of Americans with higher costs and result in less health coverage. The bill would allow insurers to charge older adults up to five times as much as younger adults. LeaMond says AARP, which represents some 38 million Americans age 50 and older, is 'adamantly opposed to the Age Tax.' AARP is also raising concerns about cuts in Medicaid, saying they will leave millions 'at risk of losing the care they need and erode seniors' ability to live in their homes and communities.' ___ 6 p.m. The top U.S. doctors group says it is still reviewing the Senate Republican health care plan, but says it strongly opposes limits on Medicaid spending. American Medical Association President Dr. David Barbe (Barb) said Thursday the group has a 'grave concern with a formula that will not cover needed care for vulnerable patients.' He says the AMA's main objectives are that people who are currently insured should not lose coverage and that safety-net programs should be adequately funded. The AMA has about a quarter-million members. The Senate GOP bill would cut and revamp Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides coverage for low-income Americans. ___ 5:20 p.m. An addiction treatment advocacy group says the Senate health care plan falls short in confronting the opioid epidemic. Joseph J. Plumeri of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse says the proposed cuts to Medicaid mean fewer people will receive treatment for addiction. He says anyone who supports the legislation 'cannot claim to be committed to ending the opioid epidemic.' The Senate bill would create a $2 billion fund to provide grants to states in support of substance abuse treatment and recovery, and also to help care for people with mental health problems. But advocates say the current financing provided through Medicaid is far greater — and open-ended. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, had sought $45 billion over 10 years to combat the addiction crisis. __ 4:35 p.m. U.S. Capitol Police have arrested 43 people who were protesting proposed cuts to Medicaid inside a Senate office building. In a statement, Capitol Police say the protesters 'removed themselves from their wheelchairs and lay themselves on the floor, obstructing passage through the hallway and into nearby offices.' Some of the protesters were yelling 'no cuts to Medicaid' as they were being led away by police. The protest came on the same day Senate Republican leaders released their version of a bill that would repeal and replace President Barack Obama's health law. The bill limits Medicaid spending. Capitol Police say those arrested were charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding, which means inconveniencing or disturbing others. __ 3:55 p.m. Former President Barack Obama says the Senate's GOP-written health care bill will cause millions of families to lose health care coverage. The former president issued a statement on his Facebook page as Senate Republicans unveiled a plan to dismantle Obama's signature presidential achievement. Obama called Senate Republicans' health care bill a 'massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America.' He also says it 'hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else.' The former president says amending the GOP-written bill 'cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.' Obama says he hopes there are 'enough Republicans in Congress who remember that public service is not about sport or notching a political win.' ___ 3:15 p.m. Medical groups are beginning to weigh in on the Senate Republican health care bill, and they have problems with the proposal. The American Academy of Pediatrics says the bill would hurt children by scaling back Medicaid. Its president, Dr. Fernando Stein, says the plan was crafted without input from pediatricians and 'would tear down' the progress the nation has made by achieving insurance coverage for 95 percent of children. America's Essential Hospitals, which represents more than 300 safety-net health facilities, says the version the Senate released Thursday 'might be worse overall' than the House legislation and might lead to hospitals reducing services or closing. The Association of American Medical Colleges says the Senate plan would leave millions of people without health coverage, and others with only bare-bones insurance plans. ___ 2:15 p.m. Four Republican senators say they are not ready to vote for the GOP health care bill, putting the measure in jeopardy. The four are Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky. They say in a statement that they are open to negotiation before the full Senate considers the measure. The four say there are provisions that are an improvement to the current health care system. But they add that the measure fails to accomplish what they have promised to their constituents, 'to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs.' GOP leaders hope to vote on the bill next week and can only afford two defections from the 52 Senate Republicans. ___ 1:50 p.m. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says he and three other Republican senators are preparing to announced their opposition to the Senate health care bill as it's written. Their opposition puts the bill in jeopardy, since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can lose only two Republican senators and still pass the legislation. Paul tells The Associated Press in an interview that the bill released Thursday resembles 'Obamacare' too closely and does not go far enough to repeal former President Barack Obama's law. Paul says that he and the other senators are 'definitely open to negotiation' but that they need to make their opposition clear in order to ensure negotiations happen. McConnell is pushing toward a vote next week but Paul's stance throws that into question. ___ 1:30 p.m. U.S. Capitol Police are arresting dozens of people who are protesting cuts to Medicaid in the Senate Republicans' health care bill. The protesters have filled a hallway in one of the Senate office buildings, outside the office of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Some of the protesters are being escorted individually. Others are much more reluctant to leave and it's taking four or five officers to carry them out. The protesters are yelling 'no cuts to Medicaid' as they are being led away. One protester says he's with the disability rights group ADAPT. Phillip Corona says he traveled from Wisconsin to make his voice heard. Corona says Medicaid helps his son Anthony get out of bed every morning. Phillip Corona fears that changes to the program 'would possibly mean putting him in a nursing home.' Alison Barkoff — director of advocacy for the Center for Public Representation — helped organize the protest. She says the protesters rely on Medicaid to help them live and she says the health bill amounts to 'tax cuts for the wealthy on the backs of people with disabilities.' ___ 11:35 a.m. Democrats are roundly criticizing the Republican plan to scrap the Obama health care law. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke on the Senate floor Thursday moments after the GOP's 142-page discussion draft was posted online. Republicans had been briefed on the plan behind closed doors. Schumer says, 'We live in the wealthiest country on earth. Surely we can do better than what the Republican health care bill promises.' House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi assails the GOP bill as a tax break for wealthy Americans. The bill would eliminate the requirement that Americans buy insurance or face a tax penalty. ___ 11:20 a.m. President Donald Trump is expressing hope that the Senate will pass a health care plan 'with heart' following the release of a Republican plan to dismantle President Barack Obama's health law. Trump says at the start of a White House event on technology he is hopeful Congress will get something done on health care 'with heart.' The president spoke shortly after Senate Republicans released a 142-page draft of their bill to get rid of much of Obama's law. The bill faces broad opposition from Democrats. But Trump says that Republicans would love to have Democratic support. ___ 11:18 a.m. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is praising the Republican plan to scuttle the Obama's health overhaul, arguing it's the right alternative to a 'failed' law. Moments after the 142-page discussion draft was unveiled, McConnell spoke on the Senate floor, renewing his criticism of the seven-year-old law. He outlined the GOP plan that would cut Medicaid, slash taxes and waive the requirement that Americans purchase health insurance. Senate Republicans had been briefed on the plan earlier Thursday. Emerging from the session, McConnell did not answer when asked if he has the votes to pass the GOP proposal. A vote would occur next week after budget analysts assess the package. ___ 10:56 a.m. Senate Republicans have released a 142-page draft of their bill to eliminate much of the Obama health care law. The measure would cut and revamp Medicaid, the health care program for lower-income and disabled people. It would repeal tax increases Obama's law imposed on higher-income people and medical industry companies to pay for expanded coverage. And it would end the tax penalty Obama's statute imposes on people who don't buy insurance — in effect, ending the so-called individual mandate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is hoping to push the measure through the Senate next week. But its fate remains uncertain. It faces uniform Democratic opposition. And at least a half-dozen Republicans — both conservatives and moderates — have complained about it. ___ 10:20 a.m. Senate Republicans are holding a private meeting to hear from leaders about their long-awaited plan for eliminating much of President Barack Obama's health law. Lobbyists and congressional aides say the Senate bill would cut Medicaid, end penalties for people not buying insurance and rescind tax increases that Obama imposed to help pay for his law's expansion of coverage. Republicans plan to make their plan public later Thursday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell developed the bill behind closed doors. The measure represents his attempt to satisfy GOP moderates and conservatives who've complained about the measure. McConnell hopes to push the measure through the Senate next week. But it remains unclear whether he will have enough votes.
  • It was a rather pleasant spring and now the first summer month too has been cooler than normal. Hot weather has not lasted more than a couple or few days so far this year. It sure saves the lawn and bushes a lot of stress and saves the watering bill and the A/C bill, so I like it. But I am sure sun tanning fans are not thrilled. It still looks like from today past the 4th of July real hot weather will continue to be hard to come by. Then odds of some heat go up if the new Weekly European Model Ensemble run is right. 1-15 Day GFS Ensemble average temperature departure from normal: End of June-early July rainfall amounts GFS Ensemble and Euro Ensemble: Hope for some drying beyond the current wet spell:      European Model the week ending July 7th: Then the model suggests more upper-level ridging which would bring warmer and drier if correct. The week ending July 14th: The model projects not dry weather in Georgia but less wet to open the new month, as the bigger rains are projected to shift north of here. None-the-less, it looks like odds for rain will be above-normal right into the start of August. So no drought and no extreme heat here. Week ending July 21st: Week ending July 28th: FOLLOW me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB
  • Four people were injured, one seriously, when a double-decker tour bus that took a detour due to a major display of sporting events got stuck inside a tunnel under a Paris bridge Friday, police and the bus company said. Dozens of police officers were seen around the bus as it backed out of the tunnel several hours after the accident. Its top-level windshield appeared smashed and what looked like a tent roof was collapsed. The accident occurred shortly after noon as the Big Bus Tours bus traveled from the Place de la Concorde, a large square between the Tuileries Gardens and the Champs- Elysees, the police headquarters press office said. Information on the injured, including their nationalities, was not immediately available. Big Bus Tours said the bus had taken the tunnel on a roadway under the Alexandre III bridge, which spans the Seine River, because other routes were closed as Paris shows off its sporting ways in its bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games. Traffic was off-limits in large areas of the city center until midnight.
  • China's Foreign Minister is calling for a political solution to end Syria's six-year crisis saying that once the country's security conditions begin to improve refugees will start returning to their country. Foreign Minister Wang Yi made his comments in Beirut during a news conference Friday with his Lebanese counterpart Gibran Bassil. Some 1.5 million Syrian refugees who fled their country's conflict are believed to be living in Lebanon, equal to about a third of the Mediterranean country's population of 4.5 million people. Bassil described the presence of refugees as an 'existential threat' to Lebanon calling for a swift return of refugees to their country. Wang said that China has given Beirut aid in the past 'and we will continue to give such assistance to Lebanon in accordance with Lebanon's needs.
  • The Latest on the day's attacks in Pakistan (all times local): 6:20 p.m. A Pakistani government official says twin bombings, minutes apart, have hit a crowded market in the country's northwestern tribal region, killing at least 15 people and wounding 70. Local government administrator Zahid Hussain says the bomb attacks took place at the Tori market in Parachinar on Friday afternoon. He says authorities are transporting the dead and wounded to hospitals. No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but the region has been battered by bitter sectarian violence, in which Sunni militant groups have targeted Pakistan's minority Shiite Muslims in the area. ___ 9 a.m. A suicide car bombing near the office of the provincial police chief in southwestern Pakistan has killed 11 people and wounded 20. Police spokesman Shahzada Farhat said explosion near the police chief's office in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, was powerful enough that it was heard across the city, shattering windows on nearby buildings. The bombing came ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid-al-Fitr, which follows the holy month of Ramadan, expected to end this weekend. A breakaway Taliban faction later claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was part of the militants' campaign to enforce Islamic law. Asad Mansoor, spokesman for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, vowed more such attacks. Later, the Islamic State group said in a competing claim that it was behind the attack. The competing claims could not be reconciled.