Fayette schools’ budget committee: No ‘sacred cows’
An in-depth look at cost-saving measures for the Fiscal Year 2014 Fayette County School System budget is underway.
Assistant Superintendent and budget committee chair Sam Sweat at the Sept. 17 meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education reviewed the group’s mission to recommend a variety of cuts that will reduce next year’s operating budget by up to $20 million.
Sweat said a recent visit to the Marietta City School District, a charter school district, revealed that moving to that structure gave the district more flexibility with class sizes. Marietta also allows out-of-district tuition at $3,500 per student, a move that generates approximately $1.4 million in tuition and state dollars.
Sweat said the committee has met three times to date and has a goal to recommend up to $5 million in cuts for the current school year to help offset the cuts that will be needed to balance the 2013-2014 budget that takes effect in July.
A sampling of the committee’s priorities include protecting student learning and achievement, harboring no “sacred cows,” favoring long-term gains over short-term reductions, examining 12-month contracts, reviewing staff allotments, reviewing the size of central office, maximizing revenues, reviewing a tuition policy for non-residents and remembering that “business as usual” cannot be the mindset.
Sweat will report back to the school board on a monthly basis.
Also at the meeting, Superintendent Jeff Bearden got unanimous approval to eliminate four managerial positions in central office and replace them with two new positions. Doing so will provide a net savings of approximately $100,000, Bearden said.
The positions eliminated included the human resources director, comptroller, coordinator of audits and purchasing agent. Those positions will be replaced with an assistant superintendent of business and personnel management and a coordinator of audits and purchasing.
The human resources director, coordinator of audits and purchasing agent positions are currently vacant. Laura Brock currently serves as comptroller. Bearden said he will begin advertising immediately for the new assistant superintendent and would like Brock to assume the new coordinator of audits and purchasing position.
The assistant superintendent of business and personnel management will report to Bearden while the coordinator of audits and purchasing will report to the new assistant superintendent.