Dougherty County School Superintendent Joshua Murfree hands papers to Susan Hatcher as Finance Director Ken Dyer looks on during a meeting of the system’s finance committee Thursday. The committee unanimously approved sending a tentative FY 2013 budget to the full school board.
ALBANY, Ga. — The Dougherty County School System Finance Committee on Thursday approved a tentative $116 million budget for FY 2013. The tentative budget will go before the full board on Monday.
Among the cost-cutting measures offered by Superintendent Joshua Murfree is a proposal to cut 15 paraprofessional positions, plans to enforce minimum class size requirements at every school which could lead to cuting 26 teaching positions, eliminating vacant counselor and police officer positions within the system and to require six furlough days for staff instead of the current 10 days.
The entire package of cuts, if approved by the Board, will save the system $8,826,532 during the next fiscal year.
Murfree’s 11 cost-cutting suggestions are:
— Saving $350,700 by reducing the paras through attrition.
— Saving $1,690,000 by enforcing minimum class sizes while increasing class sizes up to three students.
Murfree’s estimates that by significantly reducing the number of low-enrollment classes, the district would be able to eliminate 26 teaching positions. The system is working with principals and counselors to ensure compliance with minimum and target class sizes.
As of May 7, there were 101 teaching vacancies in the system.
— Eliminating seven low enrollment/low demand CTAE (Career, Technical & Agricultural Education) programs for a savings of $380,000.
— The elimination of one middle school counselor position at a savings of $89,000.
— Eliminating one school police officer position to save $75,000.
— Reduce police overtime by 20 percent to save $20,000.
— Save $170,000 by reallocating media specialists to one per high school to save $170,000.
— Eliminating foreign language programs at two elementary schools to save $370,000. International Studies Elementary Charter School will retain its programs due to its international charter.
— Eliminate four part-time assignments currently filled by off-duty bus drivers to save $25,000.
— Save $3,325,000 through the use of six teacher furlough days. Murfree’s goal is to drop the number of days to three in FY 2014 and eliminate them entirely in 2015.
The Superintendent will then draw $2,331,829 from a reserve fund balance to submit a balanced budget to the state by a June 29 deadline.
Two unknown factors, however, could throw a kink into Murfree’s plan.
The 24 non-renewed CRCT teachers account for $1.9 million in salaries and benefits and are not included in the 2013 budget, neither is the system’s legal fees for adjudicating the cases.
Finance Director Ken Dyer said the cost of paying nine tribunal members, who will make disciplinary recommendations to the Board, “should be minimal.”