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Cobb school board approves tentative budget

7:28 PM, Apr 29, 2013   |    comments
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MARIETTA, Ga. -- Efforting to cut more than $86 million dollars from next year's budget, Cobb County school board members wrestled for nearly two hours before adopting a tentative budget.

Stressing that changes can still be made before a final vote next month, members have agreed to eliminate 182 positions through attrition.

Teachers are looking at five furlough days which will be taken on instructional days meaning parents will have to find other arrangements for their children on those days.

While class sizes will not increase for elementary students, Cobb's middle schools and high schools will take on an extra student per class.

A bit of good news for teachers.  The proposed cuts first talked about numbered more than 300.  They'll also receive half a year worth of step increases, or raises.

Board members took turns complaining that with so little time left before their deadline, there was no chance to take a closer, deeper look into the entire district budget.

"I think we need to start on next year's budget sooner rather than later.  If we keep coming up with these shortfalls, let's do the hard work of sitting down and going line by line looking for cuts," said Post 4 school board member Kathleen Angelucci.

Post 3 Representative David Morgan urged fellow members to consider overhauling the entire budget process next year and start from zero in each department.

"We're not solving the problem.  We're putting a Band-aid on it.  Nothing is going to change. No more additional revenue source is going to appear. We have to start dealing with the new normal," said Morgan.

Cobb County School Board Chairman Randy Scamihorn suggested the board begin this summer to work on a new way to approach the budget.

"Let's get started in September to change the model," said Scamihorn.

School board member Tim Stultz agreed and said, " We need to look at long term ways to budget year to year and move past just offering furloughs each time."

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