Two mistakenly sent CRCT nonrenewal letters
ALBANY, Ga. — Two elementary school paraprofessionals who were named in the governor’s CRCT cheating report were among 26 other teachers and administrators who were informed by Dougherty School System attorney Tommy Coleman that their contracts would not be renewed for the 2012-13 school year.
Coleman said Tuesday that, as paras, the two, Valerie West and Debra Warren, should have never been on the list since they don’t have contracts with the system.
Since they lack contracts, the two are considered “at will” employees and can be fired by the school board with no recourse of appeal.
West, a para at Jackson Heights, is among those in the report accused of “assisted in cheating,” while Warren is accused of “participated in cheating.”
— Terry Lewis
ALBANY, Ga. — With the Dougherty County School System facing an anticipated $9.6 million shortfall and a June 30 deadline to balance its FY 2012-13 budget, Superintendent Joshua Murfree unveiled his three-year budget reduction plan on Wednesday.
At a meeting of the DCSS Finance Committee, Murfree stressed that "everything is on the table" and that the plan was just a series of proposals.
His proposal, if fully implemented by the Dougherty School Board, would balance the budget and reduce teacher furloughs from 10 to six days.
The budget proposal was presented by the DCSS Finance Department's Ken Dyer, who was sitting in for former Finance Director Robert Lloyd, who was demoted on Monday.
The superintendent's plan would eliminate 15 paraprofessional and four graduation coaches for a savings of $639,700; maximize class sizes to eliminate 26 positions for a $1.7 million savings; phase out a counselor position to save $89,000, and reduce some CTAE (Career, Technical & Agricultural Education) programs to save another $380,000.
Other programs in the budgetary crosshairs are $170,000 in savings by reducing media specialists to one per high school; $370,000 by eliminating elementary school foreign language, art, music and physical education; and $414,000 by revising the way full-time returning retired teachers are paid.
Murfree also proposed selling Sylvandale Elementary and next year closing Isabella and another active elementary school.
"This is where we are, and this is what we need to do to go forward," Murfree said. "We're going to have to make some tough decisions. We can cut all the programs we want and not cut personnel, and we'll still have a deficit."
Ninety percent of the current DCSS budget, or roughly $9 million per month, is spent on personnel.
"I think we made great progress today," board member Darrel Ealum, who was sitting in on the meeting, said. "This is the first time since I've been on the board that we've actually had line items to discuss prior to voting on a budget. We're light years ahead of where were last year.
"Ken Dyer did a fine job."
Murfree's proposal also suggested eliminating 101 vacant teaching positions, eliminating one assistant coach per school and reducing athletic supplements by 5 percent.
The proposal, however, doesn't address legal fees that will arise from the upcoming CRCT tribunals, although board attorney Tommy Coleman said recently resolution of the cases was going to "cost a lot."
Committee member James Bush, who is also the board's chairman, asked the committee to consider bringing in an in-house attorney to handle the system's legal matters at a reduced cost.
Dyer, however, pointed out that the attorney would likely need an assistant, adding that those salaries and benefits could negate any real savings.
The committee also said that outsourcing of child nutrition services, police and transportation would still be looked at. Committee member Carol Tharin reminded Dyer that the board had already approved an RFP (Request for Proposal) for outsourcing facilities maintenance and was waiting for Finance to issue it.