Board Approves Tentative Fiscal Year 2011 Budget
The Cobb County Board of Education tentatively approved the budget for Fiscal Year 2011 during its May 12 work session. The $819.4 million budget is based on a projected enrollment of 105,205 students. Faced with a $126.7m shortfall due to significant reductions in state funding and local property tax collections, the District was forced to make several difficult decisions to address the deficit. The FY2011 budget includes:
• Increase to maximum class size for K-12
• Increase millage to 20 mill cap
• 5 Furlough Days for all employees
• Reducing the school year by 5 days
• Reduction of Central Office and Local School Support positions and operating budgets
• Restructuring of alternative education program
Administration began the process of a Reduction in Force (RIF) following Board approval in April. The RIF resulted in elimination of 579 teaching positions, 68 central office and support positions, 34 graduation coach positions, 21 school counselor positions and 31 alternative education staff positions. All employees in the District will take five furlough days during the 2010-2011 school year.
The Board will approve the final FY2011 budget during its
June 9, 2010 work session.
Cobb Named Among ‘Best Communities for Music Education in America’
According to a nationwide survey by the NAMM Foundation and the American Music Conference, the Cobb County School District is among the 174 ‘Best Communities for Music Education America!’ The districts were measured across curricular and programmatic criteria as well as public support of their music programs. Cobb is one of just three school systems in Georgia to receive this designation.
Excess SPLOST II Funds Identified
The Board of Education has approved declaring more than
$23 million from the SPLOST II one-cent sales tax program as excess funds. This means those funds can be used to completely offset a likely increase in the property tax millage rate. The board anticipates having to raise the millage rate from the current 18.9 mills to the state maximum 20.0 mills when it meets in July. Increasing to the state maximum millage rate is necessary to balance the school district’s operating budget, which still faces a gap of more than $23 million. So far, budget-reduction steps have targeted more than $103 million in operating costs, including the elimination of more than 700 teacher, central office and support positions.
State law requires that excess proceeds from a SPLOST building program that remain once all projects are accounted for must be used for reducing any indebtedness of the school system. In the event there is no indebtedness, as is the case in Cobb, the excess proceeds must be used for the purpose of reducing the property tax millage rate. Therefore, the school district has made an initial declaration of SPLOST II excess proceeds equal to 1.1 mills to allow the millage rate to be reduced from 20.0 mills to the current rate of 18.9 mills. The approximate value of the excess declaration is $23,634,130.
As a result of the Board actions, Cobb County property owners will see no change in their school tax rates.
The good news story of SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) continues for Cobb County taxpayers. The following agenda items approved by the Board of Education are SPLOST-related and/or involve the use of SPLOST funds. In April 2010, the School Board:
• Authorized extension of Bid 07-11, Relocation, Setup and Infrastructure Needs for Portable Classrooms to multiple vendors from June 1, 2010 through May 31, 2011, at a cost of $1,288,596.
• Approved purchase of 3.46 acres of land adjacent to Cooper Middle School for the replacement of Clarkdale Elementary School, at a cost of $373,950.
• Approved the transfer of approximately $23.6 million in excess SPLOST II funds to the General Fund to offset a proposed millage rate increase from 18.9 to 20.0 mills in FY2011 (see above for additional details).
• Approved the site plan for the Clarkdale Replacement Elementary School and authorize the Superintendent to proceed with preparation of construction documents.
These projects were part of the SPLOST III program approved by Cobb County voters in 2008. To view the agenda items for the projects, please click here. To view the SPLOST III referendum approved Sept. 16, 2008, please click here.