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The purpose of this e-mail newsletter is to help keep the District’s stakeholders informed of
education-related issues. The Board of Education appreciates your support of excellence in education.

Board Requests Additional Options for 2009-10 Calendar

The Board of Education has requested three new calendar options for the 2009-10 school year. The school board instructed Superintendent Fred Sanderson to prepare the new options for review at the March 11 work session. The board specified that the new options should each include a start date of August 17 or later, and at least one of the options should end first semester after the winter holiday break.

The currently approved 2009-2010 school calendar begins school on August 10. The calendar options will be made available to the public on the District Web site after they are presented to the Board on March 11.

The District's 2008 Annual Report is now available online.
Produced by the Communications Office, the Annual Report provides a comprehensive overview of District operations, financial results, testing data, and school-specific information from the past year.

The Annual Report is a key source for parents, community members, and the news media to access key facts and figures regarding enrollment, school programs, operations, test results information about enrollment, school programs and operations, test results, the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), and more.

District Faces Difficult Choices In 2010 Budget Development

Cobb County School District staff and the Board of Education continue to move forward with development of the Fiscal Year 2010 budget. The District’s current fiscal year ends June 30, 2009. The FY2010 budget presents many challenges due to the economic downturn.

The school district receives general operating revenue from two main sources: 1. Local property taxes; and 2. State of Georgia tax collections. Both sources are expected to be substantially lower because of economic conditions. In preliminary calculations, the school district is projecting a $76 million deficit for FY2010. This figure could increase or decrease depending on action taken by the state Legislature, and how Cobb County’s commercial and residential property tax collections come in. So far, the news has not been encouraging. Nevertheless, it is important for school staff and parents to remember that no action has been taken on the FY2010 budget at this time. That means that no positions have been cut and no programs have been eliminated at this time. School district staff will be informed as the process moves forward over the next few months and options are considered.

One area where it may be possible for the District to save tens of millions of dollars is increasing class sizes. The state has offered districts across Georgia some flexibility in this area. Cobb is already well below state maximums for classroom size, so an increase may be one way to cut into the budget shortfall. There is no question that difficult choices will have to be made in order to address the $76 million deficit. However, the District’s top priority will be to find cuts that have the least impact on classroom instruction. The school board is expected to host a public discussion of the FY2010 budget on May 7, 2009. The Board is scheduled to approve a tentative budget on May 13, 2009, and give final approval to the FY2010 budget at its regular meeting on June 10, 2009.

Adding to the financial uncertainty is news that the current FY2009 budget may face additional cuts. Action by the Governor and/or state Legislature could result in the loss of millions of dollars for the current operating budget. In October 2008, the Board of Education approved a series of cost-cutting measures recommended by the Superintendent in response to more than $8 million being cut from the current budget. Those cuts were focused at the top and included a hiring freeze, a ban on travel, and a five-percent reduction in the budgets of all central office departments, among other things.

Now, the District has received word that additional state cuts to the current budget are likely, perhaps as much as $15 million. Superintendent Sanderson has instructed schools to restrict all future purchases except those essential to student health and safety, and some essential to instruction. Schools have been proactive in finding ways to cut out waste and save resources without affecting student instruction – in many cases by reducing copying and printing. Contrary to some reports, all schools have ample resources – including paper – needed to sustain daily operations.

More information about the District’s budget and the approval process is available here.

Board Receives Primer On Georgia Open Meetings Act

During its Feb. 11 work session, the Board welcomed Senior Assistant Attorney General Stefan Ritter for a training session regarding the state's Open Meetings Act.

Mr. Ritter spent an hour informing Board members about the intricacies of Georgia's sunshine laws and answering questions about the Board's responsibilities as elected representatives. The discussion covered appropriate subject matter for executive session, what constitutes a quorum, and conducting meetings via telecommunications.

Mr. Ritter's training session and discussion with the Board is available for viewing online on the District Web site.

Dr. Mark Elgart of AdvancED Educates Board About Roles, Responsibilites

Dr. Mark Elgart of AdvancED, an organization of accreditation groups, spoke to the Board about its role in student success during a special called meeting Feb. 10. Dr. Elgart discussed effective Board governance and leadership, the role of the administration and the Board's responsibilities to constituents.

Video of Dr. Elgart's presentation is available for viewing online on the District Web site.

English/Language Arts Instructional Materials Review March 9-27

The Cobb County School District is offering citizens an opportunity to review textbooks and materials being considered for use in K-8 English/Language Arts.

The K-8 English/Language Arts textbooks and materials will be available for public review from March 9th through March 27th, 2009. Review of materials will take place at the Central Administrative building, 514 Glover Street in Marietta during regular office hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

CobbcastCobb County Board of Education Dr. John Abraham, Chairman • Lynnda Crowder-Eagle, Vice Chairman
Dr. John Crooks • Holli Cash • David Morgan • David Banks • Alison Bartlett

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