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Schools not planning furloughs next year
2013 budget goes before school board Tuesday
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The Liberty County Board of Education is slated to have a full, 180 class-day calendar for the upcoming school year, but it has made position changes ahead of adopting its 2013 budget.

Though the budget will not be formally adopted until Tuesday, the board approved changes that will affect its budget process during a work session last month. The fiscal-year 2013 budget takes effect July 1.

Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer and Jason Rogers, assistant superintendent for administrative services, presented a list of proposed staffing changes to the board.

The changes allowed for some restructuring that will cut costs in some areas and will $145,000 to the budget.

Changes include filling an administration vacancy for executive director of curriculum with a director at an increase of $122,663; hiring a certified worker to oversee the pre-K center media and computer lab at $64,936; reclassifying the pre-K lead teacher/site director program to an assistant principal position at an additional cost of $11,553; and eliminating two central office positions saving $53,257.

Duties for the two eliminated positions have been reallocated to accountants in the administrative services department. Rogers said those workers currently are doing the work without additional compensation and that they are willing to continue the jobs with a stipend through the next school year.

The stipend for each is $6,000 plus $1,620 in benefits.

Before voting on the recommendation, board members were hesitance to add to employees’ workloads for fear of burn-out.

Rogers presented a tentative budget during the April work session that projected $91.1 million in revenues and $106.7 million in expenditures, calling on the fund balance to cover the excess. The projected beginning fund balance is $34 million, and the projected ending balance is $18.3 million.

One major difference between the budget for fiscal year 2012 and fiscal year 2013 is a result of the district returning to a full calendar year for all students and employees, Rogers said.

In October, the board approved a calendar with no furlough days, pending state allotments. The upcoming school year will mark the first since 2009 that LCSS had a full calendar of 180 instructional and 10 teacher work days.  In 2009-10 and 2010-11, the district had six furlough days, and in 2011-12, there were three. The personnel cost for adding three days back to the calendar is $1.2 million, according to Rogers’ October projections.  

State revenue sources are anticipated to provide $52.06 million in support, down from $53.12 million last year. Federal funding decreased from $19,201,836 to $19,009,817, while local taxes and SPLOST increased from $16,800,000 to $17,136,000 due to tax digest growth.  

In expenditures, student transportation increased from $5,085,153 to $5,288,559 due to fuel costs.

The rate of employer’s share of health care costs for classified employees also has risen drastically, Roger said.

“The rate has increased by almost $200 per month per employee,” Rogers said. “A few years back, we were paying about $160 per month per employee, and this coming fiscal year we will pay approximately $450 per month per employee.”

The district is projected to shave $48,692 off its workers’ compensation costs by moving from Key Risk Insurance Co. to coverage through the Georgia School Boards Association.

A memo from Rogers to the board said the district was recently notified of the possible non-renewal of the Key Risk coverage, which cost the district $680,117 in fiscal year 2012. That policy expires June 30.

His memo said that a GSBA policy would cost $631,425 for coverage from July 1 to June 30, 2013.

“In addition, based on the extreme time constraints involved from notification to expiration, we would ask that you waive the formal bid requirements,” the memo said.

The board also approved that request.  

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