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.