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School Board gives budget tentative OK

Dougherty County School Board Chairman James Bush, left, makes a point during a discussion Monday with board member Darrel Ealum, center, and Superintendent Joshua Murfree. The Board later approved a tentative $116 million budget for FY 2013 by a 5-2 vote.

Dougherty County School Board Chairman James Bush, left, makes a point during a discussion Monday with board member Darrel Ealum, center, and Superintendent Joshua Murfree. The Board later approved a tentative $116 million budget for FY 2013 by a 5-2 vote.

ALBANY -- The Dougherty County School Board on Monday voted 5-2 to approve a tentative $116 million budget for FY 2013 and scheduled two public hearings for June 21 -- one at noon and one at 6 p.m. -- to solicit public feedback.

The board will then vote on final approval at its next meeting, set for June 27. The school district must present a balanced budget to the state by July 1, when the 2013 fiscal year begins.

Board members Darrel Ealum and David Maschke voted against adopting the budget, which the remaining five board members approved in Monday night's preliminary vote.

"I voted against the budget because the commitments made by the administration, the BOE (Board of Education) and the finance committee were not met," Maschke said. "We were promised a more detailed budget, which was to include financial controls, and as we saw in the consultant contracts, those were not included. The bulk of the budget cuts are coming in the classroom and that's not right."

Maschke also took issue with no raises for the DCSS staff while teachers will get state-mandated STEP raises.

"Did you notice that the superintendent (Joshua Murfree) said there would be no STEP increases for staff not paid under the Georgia Teachers Salary Schedule?" Maschke asked. "That means none of our support staff who are an integral part of keeping the system running will get raises.

"That's not fair."

One of the highlights of the new budget, at least for the system's teachers, is that there will be just six furlough days compared to 10 in the current school year.

"The thing is had the board, administration and finance committee taken a deeper look at these consultant contracts and overpayments to certain people, we could have knocked off another teacher furlough day," Maschke said.

The board also took action by approving the hiring of three new elementary school principals.

Brian Simon was named principal at Jackson Heights. He had been an assistant principal at the school.

Kenosha Coleman was tapped as principal at Lake Park. She had been an assistant principal at the school.

Lee Shiver was selected as principal at West Town. He had been executive director of Georgia School For the Deaf in Cave Spring, Ga.

In other action Monday, the board approved a resolution to amend the system's Internet Safety and Acceptable use policy.

The board also approved a change order to immediately begin renovation of the third floor of Albany State University's Andrews Hall, which is the site of Albany Early College.

The board also approved recommendation for approval of the system's FY 2013 Georgia School Board Association membership dues.

The School Board's next meeting is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. June 27 in the school administration building.

Comments

Support 2 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Mascke has NEVER voted to approved the budget. He always finds an accuse to not vote in support of this. If he would talk to employees most feel that getting 4 days back is like a raise.

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Support 2 years, 2 months ago

Most consultants are paid by grants. This will not affect furlough days at all.

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glennw 2 years, 2 months ago

"Support," Had you actually bother to read Mr. Maschke's comments first, or been able to comprehend what he WAS saying had you actually read them, you would understand that he had voted against the approved budget NOT because he didn't want any budget approved, but he wanted a correct budget approved. In his opinion, money was being wasted that could be recouped and used for teachers and other ways beneficial to the school system, and had there been a deeper look into over-payments and contractor payouts PRIOR to the vote, then, perhaps, he would be more inclined to vote in the affirmative.

HOWEVER, there was NO ATTEMPT by the Dougherty County School Board to do ANY investigations into ways they might be able to save taxpayers money and also protect the teachers in the county school system; the school board simply brought the vote up without the work done in advance or without a discussion.

THIS is why Mr. Maschke voted against the proposal. Now if YOU think it's okay to spend money without caring how much things actually cost, or if people will actually lose jobs because you are overspending money because no one is being held accountable, then, perhaps, YOU should make up the difference out of your own pocket so the teachers won't have to miss those extra days because of lack of funding. Or, better yet, maybe YOU can step into those classrooms and substitute teach for FREE while these qualified teachers are out of work...oh wait, you just proved you have no common sense whatsoever so we can scratch that second option.

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straightface 2 years, 2 months ago

I agree with David Mascke,normally i dont but he is making some valid points this time. The children are being affected again and thats who we are suppose to be saving and making sure they have a great future.

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waltspecht 2 years, 2 months ago

As I contribute on the Federal and State level, I do have a horse in this race. There should be cuts in administrative positions. Put more responsibility on those remaining. Make it where the internet is only open to school related business. Do away with all other access. That is what most big companies are doing. No games on any computers. Regularly monitor all computer use. I believe they would be suprised how much time is actually wasted in computer use that has nothing to do with the Education System. Then there is the fact that anyone leaving the premises should punch out. All salaried people included. There has got to be an accountability of all the time they are being paid for. Plus increased documentation on sick days, personal days and whatever. Plus , apparently overtime is a concern in some areas, as well as conducting personal business on School time. Rumor is some Administrators are running a private business on School time. Has anyone checkled? I believe I have addressed all things in the squawk box and letters to the editor that I can remember are wrong with basic accountability, which helps in budgets.

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jglass 2 years, 2 months ago

waltspecht, you drove that nail hard!!! It is sad though that the voices in dougherty county are not being listened to or heard. It is sad that the children and teachers ALWAYS pay the price. Cut, cut, cut on Pine. #34 you take a CUT. Get rid of the paper pushers. waltspecht, they need to read your comments and take action. I agree with Ealum and Maschke as well.

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whattheheck 2 years, 2 months ago

We are going to miss David's voice of reason. For the record, I don't care if the dollars being used are local, state or federal, grant or appropriated, if we don't need to do it, don't do it. Let me back up to the consultants issue.

When it surfaced that consultants were working without BOE approval, the Darrell Sabbs Saturday payments really should raise eyebrows and a closer look is warranted. But one of the other biggies was the reported over $120K to Global Teachers Research & Resources. If this money was worth getting excited about, why not look at the $555,000 the same company got the year before? As I read the companies website, we are getting teachers who must hold citizenship in another country. What are we trying to teach and why? We can't afford full pay for our teachers yet we hire all these folks as consultants.

The consultant issue involves contract splitting to avoid approval levels. This means things can be done under the radar without getting a look-see from approval authorities. And when it is found in one type procurement, in this case consultants, it exists in other areas where similar restrictions exist. It is there, all you have to do is look. Our annual audits by CPA firms have pointed this out as a problem so what else are we missing?

<p>open.ga.gov on the internet, a "transparency" site fed by the State Auditor, has information on salaries and expenditures for all the school systems in the state. Take a look at DCSS and your eyebrows might be raised like David's.

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