Fayette School Board votes tonight

Thu, 02/26/2009 - 1:39pm
By: Ben Nelms

Things heated up a bit Monday night at Fayette County School Board’s public meeting, with school system employees and parents speaking their minds about potential salary and benefit premium cuts to be voted tonight at Sam’s Auditorium in Fayetteville. The only activity at the meeting were public comments from several of the 150 in attendance.

It has been relatively customary in budget-related meetings since May 2008 to have school system staff holding various positions advocating that potential cuts not affect them.

What was different Monday night were the more elevated calls to have central office staff and administrators pay a price.

“Don’t cut the front line,” said McIntosh employee Jan Miller. “Don’t cut from the bottom to maintain (something that is) top heavy.”

That sentiment was echoed by parent Kim Learnard, who said only administrative staff were included in the most recent cost cutting committee.

“We have a top-heavy central office with runaway salaries,” she said, adding that wages for the superintendent and three assistant superintendents totaled one-half million dollars. “The superintendent and three assistants are waddling up to the all-you-can-eat buffet.”

Second-year teacher Scott Moore suggested that no staff positions or benefits be reduced and that all employees take the same across-the-board pay cut, while employee Karen Davis told board members that principals should be allowed to decide the fate of media specialists.

Also speaking was Georgia Association of Educators President Jeff Hubbard, who urged board members to avoid making decisions that would negatively impact classroom instruction.

The meeting opened with Superintendent John DeCotis giving an overview of the $26+ million in austerity cuts to the school system since 2001. Comptroller Laura Brock and Assistant Superintendent for Operations Sam Sweat also gave an update on budget issues and cost cutting items.

The Thursday night meeting at Sam’s Auditorium begins at 7 p.m. with public comments, followed by a voting meeting where a final decision on salary cuts and benefits reductions are expected.

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Submitted by treehuggingtroll on Thu, 02/26/2009 - 11:18pm.

Do I want to whine about the 5% pay cut I'll be getting next year? Of Course! But let me ask you this...If you are a Nationally Board Certified Teacher, what is your pay cut going to be? What? 10%? Mine's only 5% (assuming I have a job). Huh? What? It's worse than that for teachers new to the county this year? Really? What will their pay cut be? What? 100%? Are you kidding? But mine's only 5%!

That's right. We all want to whine about our "horrible" 5% pay cut, while some of our friends and family are getting a 10% pay cut and others are losing every dime...being laid off!

What happened to banding together? What happened to unity and community and family? I consider my fellow teachers to be family. How can I take ONLY a 5% pay cut while I allow others to be fired...through no fault of their own?

I would rather give back my entire local suppliment, about 10% of my meager pay, and keep everyone, everyone, where they are. I would rather cancel my cable and internet service, turn down my heat, and live off mac & cheese and oatmeal than see someone lose their job because of me. It's unconscionable. It's greedy! But that is exactly what we are allowing to happen.

Please, take 10% from me, and anyone else who is willing, so that no one loses 100%. Take 10% from me so no one is laid off. Take 10% from me so our school communities and school families can remain entact.

Do the right thing. Give back. Fire no one.

Submitted by Bonkers on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 11:17am.

That 10% is 10% more than others make as I understand it!

But, nevertheless, they will take your 10% and you eat macaroni, so others can work.

However next fall we will need another 20% cut for everyone! OK with you?
Then we will need another 30%, in order to keep everyone, next year! OK with you?

Banding together to fight "the establishment" is it? All family are you? (I think not).

Humans are selfish. When there isn't enough money to go around this is what happens.
People should be rewarded for their intelligence as shown by results in money savings and accomplished given goals, their serious hard work--not being just available only, and their loyalty to the students---their reason for working!

All of that other crap is crazy!

eodnnaenaj1's picture
Submitted by eodnnaenaj1 on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 7:05am.

In talking with some teachers, I think many would agree with you, in theory. Our discussion was about the state (?) where teachers decided to donate one day pay (giving up a personal day or sick day) in order to keep their friends employed. What a lovely thought and action. However, based on FCBOE's actions and spending, how could anyone be assured that the sacrifice they made giving up a day was actually going to the cause they intended. FCBOE has already mismanaged and (excuse me) p***** away untold amounts. . .I see and agree with what you are saying, but I don't think the BOE can be trusted with anymore money to foolishly spend.

Seems to me if the board really had the county's best interest in mind, they would have cut at the top first. I've read about organizations where the ceo or the top person took an incredible cut, just so they could take care of their people. What an interesting concept. I believe the FCBOE is much more like the other executives we hear about who continue to lavishly travel, entertain, give themselves bonuses, many times with taxpayers money, and then wonder why the general pubic is aggravated. They feel they "deserve" it. It is just amazing to me that let's say the top ten at the central office are making outlandish salaries + travel expenses and can't see that their salary might be part of the problem. Let 'em eat cake.

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Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Thu, 02/26/2009 - 10:49pm.

I'd vote for Kim Learnard over Harold Logsdon! She fights for the average Joe and Jane.

Vote Republican

Submitted by RT Tugger on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 8:35am.

So would I. Her remarks at Tuesday night's BOE meeting were spot on. November 2010 can't come soon enough.

Submitted by parent and educator on Thu, 02/26/2009 - 2:39pm.

It is amazing to me that School Board proposes cutting every school to one full time media specialist. High schools enrollment average 1500- Elementary schools 400. High school English students write 1-2 research papers a year.
To top if off the media specialist that will stay will be based on seniority, not who is the best qualified at the school. We are no longer operating in the days of the Dewey decimal system and libraries being about printed material. Our high schools produce some of the highest performing students in the state, and the board is planning on leaving us with a media specialist that lacks the skills to help keep our students competitive in this technology driven world.
Many of the media specialists have CHOSEN to increase their skills and learn how to use all of the equipment and latest technology in the building, some of them have not. Assignments do not have to be made on seniority alone.
Section 6 of Board policy regarding assignments and transfers states that reassignments may deviate from proposed procedure of seniority if;
The last employed person has special expertise deemed essential to a particular school program. It is the responsibility of the principal, in conjunction with the Superintendent, to justify any such recommendations for retention.
Does the school board or Dr. Decotis know which media specialist in each building knows how to do everything required for the job? The principal does. Let the principal decide who will support out students and teachers best!
We need to keep the people who will serve the best interest of the school, and most importantly the students, not just because they are the most senior.

Submitted by FMSPARENT on Thu, 02/26/2009 - 3:07pm.

Media specialist are not the only ones in danger of being "shuffled". Our teachers and staff may soon resemble a deck of cards. Teachers and staff displaced from place to place, without principal, or parent in-put. Cuts must be made, but chaos would ensue moving a teacher or professional just to put a square peg in a round spot. Please, please, allow some consistency for the children and the community. Attachment means involvement. In this economy, we will need EVERY resource the community is willing to share.

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