The board has until August 15 to finalize a budget in order to comply with state regulations.
The panel did not vote on the proposed budget Tuesday night because one member was not present. Board member Guy Rutland, who was initially in attendance during the earlier hours of the meeting, had to leave because of illness.
The board felt that it would not be fair to vote on an important issue without the input of all members.
Tonight at 7 p.m., the board of education will meet in order to discuss the proposed budget and to conduct a community input session.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Superintendent Dr. Billy Pack recommended the board adopt a budget that will include roughly $2.3 million in cuts.
The proposed budget, referred to as ‘budget C’ by Pack and board members, includes no reduction in teacher or staff salaries but does allow for a possible one mill increase in tax. The one mill increase would only be used to absorb any additional cuts in funding from the state.
Teachers and staff will receive the same amount of pay as they did last year if budget C is passed.
The $2.3 million in savings includes cuts in funding for classroom instructional supplies, computer software, staff development and equipment purchases.
The board has also eliminated six teaching positions - two at Goodyear Elementary, two at Cedartown Middle School, one at Cedartown High School and one at Northside. The positions were phased out because of a decrease in student enrollment.
Board member Harold Lumpkin appeared concerned about the 20 percent cut in instructional supplies.
“We are talking classroom supplies, not Xerox copies or pens and pencils for the office staff, right? A twenty percent cut in instructional supplies is a big cut.”
The proposed budget can fluctuate if board members choose to remove an item(s) from the list of budget cuts.
One item that caught the attention of board member Beth Warner was the removal of $20,000 from both Rockmart and Cedartown Band programs.
“I don’t really understand how we can cut every penny from their budget,” said Warner. “There is not another program for the kids that we have cut the total budget for.”
Pack explained to Warner that the $20,000 was not the bands’ operational budget. That money, Pack said, was allocated to buy large instruments. The band program receives an amount of instructional money to purchase classroom supplies.
Warner stated, “I understand that we can’t give them the whole $20,000, but I just can’t see how we can cut all of their money. These children are graded on this; this is not just an extra program for them, they are graded.”
The board also discussed transference of SPLOST funds to cushion the budget and the placement of para-professionals in the in-school suspension (ISS) in order to save money.
Lumpkin stated the placement of para-pros in the ISS would save the district over $200,000.