Instead of chopping teachers to balance budget, cut some admin staff

Tue, 02/17/2009 - 4:32pm
By: The Citizen

Fayette County School System’s Budget Allotment Committee is charged with the task of finding budget cuts approaching $14.5 million.

Incredibly, the committee is made up of administrative staff members only; none of Fayette County’s 2,000 teachers and other certified staff are included on this team.

It comes as no surprise, then, that the committee has focused the heaviest budget cuts on teachers and the thinnest cuts on administrative staff.

This committee has also determined that the top four salaried personnel in the Fayette County School System, with combined salaries totaling more than half a million dollars, will keep their incomes intact.

I have never seen a more top-heavy administration than the Fayette County School System.

Instead of implementing budget cuts by pecking our teachers to death, Fayette County should be starting at the highest level of administration, and working their way down.

I have a few ideas for appropriate and urgently needed budget cuts: Superintendent John DeCotis enjoys an annual salary of $214,371.34 plus huge benefits. There is no reason why he should make more than the governor. Reduce DeCotis’ salary by 25 percent, effective immediately. (This is a modest sacrifice commensurate with cutbacks now underway in many Fayette County households.)

DeCotis has three deputy/assistant superintendents, each making over $125,000 per year plus benefits. Reduce the three assistants to one, then reduce the remaining assistant superintendent’s salary by 25 percent.

How many curriculum directors can one system support? Many successful public school systems employ one curriculum director for elementary; one for middle; and one for high school grades. Fayette County has more than double that number.

Each of our high schools employs one principal and up to four vice principals. Reduce the vice principal ranks to two per school, then reduce all their salaries by 10 percent.

Get the idea? Millions of dollars saved, and we still haven’t forced teachers and students in the classrooms to bear the brunt of the Fayette County School Board’s failure to create and adhere to a sound financial plan.

It isn’t the teachers who tore through the reserve funds over the last eight years. It is unconscionable that hundreds of school system employees who work hands-on in our children’s classrooms would lose their jobs, while King John and his cronies sit in their counting house, counting all their money.

You see, boys and girls, real leadership starts at the top.

Kim Learnard, M.Ed.

Peachtree City, Ga.

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Submitted by Vernon on Sat, 02/21/2009 - 11:21am.

The decision to cut teacher's jobs was arrive at by the top admin. employees. Is there any wonder why their jobs are protected? Duh! I agree with you completly. It just doesn't seem fair the way this is playing out. I see this happening in all departments of our county government. The workers get laid off and the over staffed admin. sections are untouched, and in several cases receive even more. The Commisioners need to trim the top first because it is the bottom that supports the whole tree.

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