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Dougherty School Board gives employees a furlough day back

The District has cut furlough days from six to four over the past six months

During an announcement before the Dougherty County School Board on Monday, Willie Beatrice Brown-Dukes and her son, Rep. Winfred Dukes, announced a new $10,000 emergency education fund for Dougherty County high school seniors who will be attending Albany State University. The fund will assist students with tuition and campus housing expenses. (Photo: Terry Lewis)

During an announcement before the Dougherty County School Board on Monday, Willie Beatrice Brown-Dukes and her son, Rep. Winfred Dukes, announced a new $10,000 emergency education fund for Dougherty County high school seniors who will be attending Albany State University. The fund will assist students with tuition and campus housing expenses. (Photo: Terry Lewis)

ALBANY — As expected, Dougherty County School employees received an early Christmas present Monday as the school board voted unanimously to remove a furlough day and include that money in their next pay check.

Board member James Bush made the motion and it was immediately seconded by the other five board members.

In June, the Board of Education reduced furlough days from six to five in its FY 2013-14 budget. Each furlough day saves the system approximately $500,000.

DCSS Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely said that reducing furlough days by one-third over a six-month period shows that the district is beginning to pull out of its economic doldrums, adding, “I think it’s be a nice Christmas present for our employees and a thank you for all their hard work.”

Bush agreed with the superintendent.

“We are blessed that the DCSS is in a position to take advantage of increased funds,” Bush said. “I think we’ve done a pretty good job of managing the money recently. I want to commend the staff and the finance committee for trying to do the right thing by our employees, the taxpayers and especially our children.

“This is a good thing for everybody.”

In a presentation before Monday’s work session began, Dougherty County high school students who are in a pinch to make ends meet in college learned they could be getting a financial boost after Rep. Winfred Dukes, his mother, Willie Beatrice Brown-Dukes, and Albany State University Vice President for Institutional Advancement Clifford Porter Jr., announced a new $10,000 emergency education loan fund for the district’s seniors.

Brown-Dukes’ mother graduated from Albany State College in 1953 with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and a library science certification. She worked in the Mitchell County School system until her retirement in 1994.

In May, in the presence of her ASU classmates at the 60th year class reunion, Brown-Dukes established a scholarship fund with $25,000.

That donation will assist students in Dougherty, Mitchell, Terrell and Liberty counties. Dukes said the communities were selected because “these are the counties we wanted to give back to because of the work we have been fortunate to do with their school systems.”

The smaller emergency fund will assist Dougherty students with tuition and campus housing expenses at ASU. Details about the criteria for submitting an application will be outlined at a later board meeting.

“With decreasing state and federal revenues, ASU must rely on private gifts from alumni and supporters to sustain its programs,” said ASU Vice President for Institutional Advancement Clifford Porter Jr. “We are very thankful to Mrs. Brown-Dukes for investing in students.”

In action items Monday, the Board approved a pool of seven architectural firms to handle eight projects worth nearly $40 million and any other STEP II and III capital improvement projects. The projects will be spread out over a five year period.

The firms that the board approved to comprise the pool are 2WR of Georgia out of Columbus, Clark Patterson Lee of Woodstock, J.W. Robinson and Associates of Atlanta, J.W. Buckley and Associates of Albany, Jinright, Ryan and Lynn of Thomasville, Maschke and Associates of Albany, and SRJ Architects of Albany.

Once the Architectural Selection Committee determines which firms are assigned to which projects, a recommendation will will be presented to the Board to award the contracts.