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Budget committee rejects school board budget
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The DeKalb County Commission budget committee has denied the Board of Education's request for funding for new employees in the proposed 2011-12 budget. The committee did say that it is still open to the possibility of funding a pay raises for school system employees.During last Thursday night’s meeting at the DeKalb County courthouse, the budget committee voted 5-0 to instruct County Mayor Mike Foster to notify the school board that the request that funding be included to create several new positions within the school system has been denied.Members of the budget committee are Jack Barton, Wayne Cantrell, Marshall Ferrell, Larry Summers, and John Green.To fund the school board's proposed budget, the county commission would have been forced to increase the local property tax rate by seventeen cents, and the budget committee members say they are not willing to do that.The proposed school budget includes a 3.2 percent pay raise for support staff and a 1.6 percent local increase to match the state's 1.6 percent pay hike for certified teachers.Although budget committee members are open to granting the pay-raise request, they have questions about the raises, and want to meet with Director of Schools Mark Willoughby before giving a recommendation to the county commission for approval.The committee also has questions on other budget issues, including the school system’s request for an increase in capital outlay of $250,000, and whether it is related to the renovation of the DCHS Science Lab.Some budget committee members said that they support the project, but they need to know exactly how it is being funded.The committee members say that they also have questions about a budget line item in the amount of $666,893 from the Education Jobs Fund, which the Director of Schools has previously said is federal one time monies.It will now be necessary for the school board to revise its proposed general purpose budget for 2011-12, which in its originally totaled $20,146,303.The school board’s original proposal included the addition of five new teaching positions, one Northside Elementary School fifth-grade teacher, one Northside Elementary School physical education teacher, one DCHS math teacher, one county wide instruction coach teacher, one assistant band teacher, two new assistant soccer coach positions, one new DCHS site coordinator, one new DCHS special education teacher, three teacher positions which have previously been funded from federal stimulus money to be returned to the local general purpose fund now that the federal funds have been exhausted, one educational assistant position which has been funded from ARRA money to be returned to the local general purpose budget.The school board also proposed three new assistant principal positions with benefits, one at DeKalb West School, one at Northside Elementary, and one at Smithville Elementary.The school board also proposed increases of $40,000 for textbook adoption, $40,000 for updating hardware and software $40,000 for the accounting department, $6,000 for minimal increase in utility costs, a $23,000 increase in maintenance of plant supplies $124,000 for increased fuel costs, and a $200,000 increase in capital outlay.