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DCSS plans public meetings to discuss budget

Dougherty County School System Executive Director of Finance and Operations Ken Dyer discusses the system’s proposed FY 2014 budget with members of the School Board earlier this week.

Dougherty County School System Executive Director of Finance and Operations Ken Dyer discusses the system’s proposed FY 2014 budget with members of the School Board earlier this week.

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Dougherty County School Board will hold two public meetings at noon and 6 p.m. Monday to gather input on a tentative $119 million Fiscal Year 2014 budget.

The board will vote on the final version of the budget on June 26 allowing for presentation to the state before its June 28 deadline.

The system’s FY 2013 budget was $116 million and encompassed 26 schools, 15,676 students and more than 2,400 employees.

The FY 2014 budget’s executive summary states: “The Dougherty County School System (DCSS) has endured increased operational costs and revenue reductions for the past several fiscal years and will again be facing similar financial pressures in Fiscal Year 2014.

“Despite modest increases in funding for education for FY 2014, the school district will again have to balance the budget with adjusted work days.”

District employees had six furlough days in FY 2013, and DCSS Executive Director of Finance and Operations Ken Dyer said Wednesday the approximately $2 million the system is expected to save from recent school closures and the elimination of the district’s mobility policy have yet to be worked into the tentative budget.

But, Dyer added, those numbers will be in the final budget, and there is a strong possibility that furlough days could be cut to four from six. Each furlough day (or adjusted work day) saves the district approximately $600,000.

In regard to raises for certified employees, the FY 2014 budget summary reads: “The FY 2014 budget does not include a state-mandated cost of living increase. However, all certified staff paid on the State Salary Schedule will receive a step increase.”

Despite the slight increases in overall revenue for FY 2014, the DCSS continues to face major challenges, including:

  • Reduced funding
  • Increases in employer rates for employee benefits
  • Increases in support costs
  • Maintaining an adequate fund balance reserve to ensure financial stability
  • Declining F.T.E. (enrollment)
  • Continued austerity reductions

The summary concludes, “We appreciate the support of our parents, employees and the community as we face these difficult budget times together on behalf of all of our children.”

ALBANY EARLY COLLEGE STILL TAKING APPLICATIONS

Albany Early College is accepting applications for the 2013-14 school year for rising seventh-grade students in Dougherty County.

The program gives middle and high school students an opportunity to experience “college life” during the seventh through tenth grades, and if they qualify they may take college courses and receive college credit during their junior and senior years of high school.

Class size is 15 students per teacher, and the focus on academic achievement prepares students for successful college matriculation.

The program is limited in enrollment to 60 rising seventh-graders per year. Those applying now may be accepted for the coming year. Applications are due this week.

AEC’s Current Entrance Criteria:

  • No one in immediate family (mother, father, sister, brother) has graduated from a four-year college
  • CRCT score range betweeb 780 and 820
  • 70 average or 2.00 for first three nine weeks of sixth-grade year
  • Promoted to the seventh grade at the end of the regular school term
  • Absences do not exceed 14 at time of application (if extenuating circumstances exist, documentation must be attached)
  • Student not suspended for more than seven days or currently assigned to the Phoenix School this school term
  • Two letters of recommendation from current-year teachers/community members

Those interested in applying should contact AEC Coordinator Barbara Harvey at (229) 483-6367 or R.D. Harter at (229) 431-1264.