ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
72°
Broken Clouds
H 82° L 60°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    72°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H NaN° L 59°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    NaN°
    Today
    Partly Cloudy. H NaN° L 59°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day Created with Sketch.
    82°
    Tomorrow
    Chance of T-storms. H 82° L 60°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Cobb school officials propose furlough days, online classes to address $86 million deficit

To close an $86.4 million budget deficit, Cobb County school administrators propose shifting a large portion of high school classes into online courses, cutting five days from the school year, eliminating transportation to several thousand students and giving district staff five furlough days.

This is the sixth year the district has made drastic spending reductions, largely because of deep state austerity cuts and lowered property tax revenue. State law doesn’t allow a school district to run a deficit.

“You can get a lot of nickels and dimes out of the cushion, but that’s not going to get you to $86 million,” Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said. “To get to that big of a number, you have to look at where your big numbers are. It’s with a lot of regret that we present this to you, but the facts are the facts.”

Last year, in order to meet a $62 million budget deficit, the district gave its staff two furlough days, eliminated 350 teaching positions and spent $28.2 million in reserve funds, among other things.

The administrators, made up of Cobb budget and academic leaders, are predicting $807.6 million in revenue and $894 million in expenditures next year.

Thursday night’s proposal was increased by $6 million after administrators learned of increased health insurance and retirement costs for teachers. It could change, depending on what happens at the state Legislature next week.

The proposal is likely to draw the ire of parents and teachers in the coming weeks.

“This is a very difficult situation you’re in,” Hinojosa told board members. “Whenever you’re facing cuts of up to 10 percent of your budget, you’re going to have to have a very difficult conversation.”

The administrators proposed 13 ways in all to cut the budget. Other options included outsourcing janitor services, laying off several school and central office staff and not giving salary increases to remaining employees.

Administrators emphasized they avoided laying off teachers, closing schools, and eliminating music, art and kindergarten programs — actions taken by several surrounding districts in recent years.

School board members, several of whom seemed impressed with the creativity of some proposals, such as expanding online learning, are expected to vote on the cuts in May. They encouraged administrators to go back to teachers and principals to find additional ways to save money.

Administrators proposed spending $22.2 million in reserve funds next year.

As part of an initiative to turn traditional classrooms into online classrooms, administrators envisioned turning entire hallways into computer labs and having students’ schedules intermingled with online courses throughout a typical day.

The 66 teachers who would lead the program would cost the district $31,500 each, versus the average salary of $75,000 for the district’s traditional classroom teachers.

The program would save the district $16 million next year.

“Kudos for this type of innovation and thinking outside the box for how we deliver education,” said board member David Morgan. “I got tired of coming back to the same things every year.”

But other board members, such as Kathleen Angelucci, expressed concerns about cutting transportation to all of the district’s students who live less than 1.5 miles away from the school, attend magnet schools, or go to after-school Boys & Girls club programs. The district currently provides transportation for elementary students who live more than half a mile from school.

The proposal would save the district $5.6 million.

The district is set to save $4.2 million by starting recent hires at a beginning salary level rather than the average teacher salary.

“This is going to be damaging to teacher morale, which has already been stretched thin,” said Connie Jackson, president of the county’s Association of Educators group. “These additional cuts could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for some teachers.”

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

News

  • Pickens County deputies are searching for an armed fugitive.  Authorities are looking for Nicholas Bishop in the area of Priest Circle in Talking Rock.  Bishop is believed to be armed with a handgun and on foot after he abandoned a stolen vehicle around 2 p.m.  If you see him, call 911 immediately. Officials say do not attempt to approach him. - Please return for updates.
  • One more time, Doris Payne, the 86-year-old infamous international jewel thief, has pleaded guilty to the usual crime. She admitted Wednesday to stealing a necklace from Von Maur at Perimeter Mall last year, the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office said. Payne, who recently said she’s been dealing with a possibly cancerous tumor, was sentenced to 120 days of house arrest and three years of probation.  She was also banned from all Von Maur locations and every mall in DeKalb County. Payne, who’d been free on bond, was arrested last month for missing a court date. Shortly after the would-be appearance, she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution she wasn’t medically able to attend. “I ain’t runnin’,” she said in a phone interview. “I’ve never in my life been late for court. Last month, Payne was deemed too ill to stand trial by the judge presiding over a Fulton County case stemming from a missing set of earrings at Phipps Plaza. Payne has been open about her habits of theft, which she detailed in a documentary called, “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne.” RELATED: Huge DeKalb center with (at least) 8 popular chains is opening soon RELATED: Cop helps elderly woman who got kicked out of dentist office in DeKalb RELATED: A DeKalb family’s tale of two dead bodies and a crying baby girl Like DeKalb County News Now on Facebook | Follow on Twitter and Instagram
  • A drunken driver destroyed a row of headstones at a historic Carrollton cemetery, causing tens of thousands of dollars' worth of damage, police said. According to police, the driver was coming down Martin Luther King Street on March 19, ran a stop sign, jumped a curb and crashed into the city-owned cemetery. The broken headstones range in date from the late 1800s to 1950. 'And what we discussed is, if one is damaged beyond repair, we'll put something back that's respectful. It's hard to replace it with the exact same item. The families aren't around anymore, so the city will take on the responsibility,' city manager Tim Grizzard said. TRENDING STORIES: Thousands of Georgians could lose food stamps next week 16-year-old in custody after hoax call about school gunman Food prices at SunTrust Park vs. Mercedes-Benz Stadium: What's the difference? The 35-year-old driver, Ray Antonio Baker, was arrested and charged with DUI. City officials said they will ask his insurance carrier to pay for the damage. 'Our plan is to go after the individual's insurance to pay for repairs. If that doesn't pay for everything, the city will certainly pick up the tab,' Grizzard said. Officials said this isn't the first time a driver has damaged headstones, but it's not a big enough problem to put up a wall. 'It's not something that has happened often enough that we need to put up a barrier. If it was a recurrent spot, we would do something,' Grizzard said. City officials said it could take weeks to repair the damage.
  • Stephen Curry scored 29 points, Klay Thompson had 23 and the Golden State Warriors rallied from a 22-point deficit in the opening quarter to beat the San Antonio Spurs 110-98 on Wednesday night for their ninth straight win. Golden State extended its lead over San Antonio to 3 1/2 games for the league's best record, beating the Spurs for the first time in three meetings this season. Kawhi Leonard had 19 points and five assists for San Antonio. Leonard shot 7 for 20 from the field while being guarded by a rotation of defenders. The Spurs had a five-game winning streak halted in inglorious fashion. San Antonio got off to its best start of the season two days after dismantling Cleveland in a 29-point victory. The Spurs raced to a 33-17 lead in the opening quarter, matching their largest lead of the season after the first quarter. Andre Iguodala's 20-foot fadeaway jumper off one leg in the final seconds kept the Warriors from matching a season-low for points in the opening period. Iguodala finished with 14 points. Golden State rallied from that horrendous start, overcoming a 22-point deficit in the first quarter to take its first lead at 59-57 on Thompson's 3-pointer 1:20 into the second half. The Warriors outscored the Spurs 93-65 after the first quarter. Golden State finished 13 for 26 on 3-pointers after shooting 2 of 5 on 3-pointers in the first quarter. San Antonio had 14 turnovers in the final three quarters. Warriors forward David West, who was met with a chorus of boos upon entering the game, finished with 15 points. West signed with Golden State in the offseason after playing for San Antonio last season on a discounted contract. Manu Ginobili had 18 points for San Antonio, and LaMarcus Aldridge added 17. TIP-INS Warriors: Golden State forward Kevin Durant worked out on the court before the game, but remains sidelined by an injured left knee. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said there is no update on a possible return, but is encouraged that Durant is moving well and progressing. Durant played a 'hard' 1-on-1 against Golden State assistant coach Willie Green earlier in the day. 'Kevin got him pretty good,' Kerr said. 'It's a good sign. If Willie had beaten him, I would have been worried.' ... Curry has 289 3-pointers this season, second-most in league history, surpassing the 286 he made in 2015. Curry set the league record with 402 3s last season. ... Golden State has seven winning streaks of at least seven games in three seasons under Kerr. Spurs: Ginobili has played 987 regular-season games in his career, tying Hall of Famer David Robinson for third all-time in franchise history behind Tony Parker (1,136) and Tim Duncan (1,392). ... PG Patty Mills has 582 career 3-pointers, one more than Hall of Famer Michael Jordan. ... San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said rookie Dejounte Murray is progressing slowly, but remains out with a left groin injury. ... San Antonio has eight games remaining, including four at home. ... The Spurs are 106-57 overall against the Warriors. UP NEXT Warriors: Host Houston on Friday night. Spurs: At Oklahoma City on Friday night.