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Elimination of Dougherty County school staff furlough days still on agenda

The unexpected loss of $2.6 in equalization funding complicates adding instruction days and eliminating furloughs

Dougherty County School Board Vice Chair James Bush questioned DCSS Director of Finance and Operations Ken Dyer about eliminating staff furlough days in the coming school year during a meeting of the School Board Monday evening. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

Dougherty County School Board Vice Chair James Bush questioned DCSS Director of Finance and Operations Ken Dyer about eliminating staff furlough days in the coming school year during a meeting of the School Board Monday evening. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

ALBANY — The Dougherty County School Board faced a light agenda Monday evening, but that didn’t prevent the discussion from getting interesting during the board’s pre-briefing.

With the system’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget due in just more than two months, board Vice Chair James Bush asked Superintendent Butch Mosely if he still planned to eliminatie the system’s four remaining staff furlough days from the budget that goes into effect July 1.

“We think our reserve fund will be up considerably and our intent is giving all the days back,” Mosely answered.

The district received just $3.3 million state in austerity cut relief, but wound up taking a $2.6 million hit on equalization and another $300,000 on a local Fair Share assessment. That means the $3.3 million was suddenly reduced to a net gain of just more than $225,000 — far short the $2 million needed to eliminate the four furlough days and get the system back to 180 school days.

Last month, the School Board unanimously approved a tentative FY 2015 school calendar which, for the first time in more than five years, included no employee furlough days.

DCSS Executive Director of Finance & Operational Services Ken Dyer was at the podium when Bush asked, “Mr. Dyer, can you tell me definitely that we will be able to eliminate all furlough days next year?”

“Our objective remains to give back all four days. The goal has always been to give the days back, but that was before we found out about the equalization loss,” Dyer answered.

Board member Darrel Ealum said he fully expected being able to give all four days back to the DCSS employees.

“I am elated that the administration and Dr. Mosely have publicly made a commitment to search for the funds to eliminate the furloughs and put us back to 180 school days,” Ealum said. “I’m just happy we are at least talking about it.”