Costly perk – BoE employees enroll 361 out-of-county kids in Fayette schools

If you live outside Fayette County, your kids cannot legally attend Fayette schools, right?

Wrong. If you work full-time for the school system — from janitor to school superintendent — and if there’s classroom space available, you can bring your kids on your commute from out of county and enroll them at no charge to you in Fayette schools. It’s a perk of your employment, with Fayette taxpayers footing the bill.

Currently, 361 kids take that commute every schoolday, at a cost of more than $1.4 million a year to Fayette taxpayers.

The Citizen continues to review both current and past cost-saving and revenue-generating proposals that have come up or may come up as the Fayette County Board of Education continues to seek an estimated $10 million that will be needed to balance the 2012-2013 budget that begins July 1.

A topic that first surfaced in 2009 and may or may not come up again deals with generating additional revenue by charging out-of-county school system employees a tuition fee if they bring their child to Fayette County schools.

It has been a long-standing, legislatively-approved practice in Georgia that a school system employee living in one county and working in other is free to enroll her child to the school system where she works.

In the case of the Fayette County School System, there are 361 students attending the local schools whose parent or guardian and their family resides in another county.

By comparison, the Coweta County School System has 13 students in its schools who live in Fayette County and attend Coweta schools because their parent or guardian is employed there.

The legislative courtesy granted to school system employees notwithstanding, there is a financial aspect to the issue.

The cost of educating a public school student is approximately $8,000, with approximately half of that amount coming from state dollars and the other half coming from local property tax revenues.

The state dollars follow the students who attend school in the county where the parent or guardian works.

But that is not the case with local property tax dollars that stay in the county where the family resides.

That means that approximately half the cost of educating the child is borne by the receiving county.

The Citizen was unable to determine if Fayette residents work in school systems in Clayton and south Fulton counties and are taking their children to schools in those counties.

That said, 361 students at approximately $4,000 totals approximately $1.44 million in state revenues that are not coming to Fayette schools and that must be picked up by Fayette property taxes. That’s more than 10 percent of the amount needed to zero out an anticipated budget shortfall next year of $10 million.

So, should Fayette’s out-of-county school system employees have to pay tuition for their child? Or should Fayette ignore the legislative-approved practice and not let them attend? Or should the matter even come up for discussion?

Given the statewide practice, the issue of cross-county school attendance for school system employees is not necessarily a topic that would gain much traction. But even if such action were ever to surface it would not be the first time in Fayette County.

The school board in early 2009 while grappling with ways to cut expenses and increase revenues briefly explored but did not act on the idea of charging out-of-county tuition for the children of school system employees not residing in Fayette County. At that time there were approximately 300 students attending Fayette schools.

Then-Superintendent John DeCotis in a Feb. 11, 2009 letter to school system employees said, “This is an important benefit to our employees but let me explain why the (school system’s Budget/Allotment Committee) is recommending tuition. The cost to educate a child in our system is $8,241. The local taxpayer has to shoulder about $4,241 of that cost for each student.

“Like everyone else, our taxpayers are feeling the hurt from this economy. Even so, they showed their support for us and voted in favor of the SPLOST in November, which is helping to minimize cuts. The recommended tuition is $1,000 to possibly $1,500 per child to help offset the cost. This item, because it will have a big impact on our employees, will require further discussion,” then-Supt. DeCotis wrote.

Whether this topic as a revenue generating measure will surface again is not currently known.

What is known is that the school system and the school board have looked at a number of revenue generating and/or expenditure reduction issues and will continue to do so.

Next year’s budget will have to be adopted in eight months’ time and with it will come the state requirement to adopt a balanced budget that, to date, looks to be as much as $10 million short.

abacus2
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school cuts

1. Cut LEC staff by half - lots of dead weight in there just creating more forms for teachers to fill out and hoops to jump through, none of which enhance education.
2. Eliminate 1 assistant superintendant position - do we need 2 for a system this size?
3. PROSECUTE the families of the illegal out of county students! Serapion is reluctant to do this because it puts a felony on their record. Boo hoo!
4. Shorten bus routes - these chubby kids NEED to walk to the front of their subdivision. Safety issues? Parents - work with your HOA to set up a monitoring schedule.
5. Four day school week - teachers can send home plenty of work to keep the little darlings out of your hair.

This should save much more than $10M

driftwood
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Totally agree with LEC cuts

Totally agree that the dead weight (and their 6-figure salaries) at the county offices need to be removed. So many of the postitions keep the classroom teacher hopping with "stuff", in order to justify their "necessary" position. Also, if you take a closer look at some of the individuals that actually hold these positions, you might see that some of them are the individuals that were removed from their school assignments before they got the BOE in "hot water". The County Offices have become the feeding ground for not so great administrators to finish out their years before retirement at a costly price to the BOE budget. Get rid of the dead weight. Do the right thing.

fluffybear
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I like 1 to 4 but I am not

I like 1 to 4 but I am not sure about 5. % requires to do their part and from what I have seen, teachers do not like to assign homework over weekends or over school holidays. After all, this requires them to do a little extra work grading papers when the kids come back to school.

hospital1
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I am for this "perk"

I am a Fayette County resident, taxpayer, and have kids in the school system. My family struggles like the next in this economy, but I don't think removing this "perk" for our employees is the way to tighten the budget.

I have no hidden agenda and I can only voice my opinion from what I have experienced, but we have some really good dedicated people working in the school system. Most went into this field because they like kids and want to help / teach. From what I have seen this is true. From the bus drivers who carefully watch our children, the crossing guards, teachers, parapros, ect... I have seen nothing but the best in trying to help our children learn.

This "perk" is also an investment. A teacher (for example) is going to work harder when they know that another employees child is in his or her class. If that teacher fails to perform, don't you think the parent and fellow employee is going to stand up and address the issue? These employees with students in the system are invested in the system. They stay late and work when thier children are in activities, they work harder because it helps them in the long run.

If there is space available and the children are not a distraction/disruption from learning, then let them stay and enjoy the perk.

wedrod
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Did you read that Fluffy?

Well said Solution_Seeker. It is attitudes like yours and others on here that make teaching a hard and thankless job. I wish you knew how dedicated these teachers are just to be spat upon by the parents of the children they care so much about.

fluffybear
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I read it and think it is a

I read it and think it is a bunch of hogwash! I have reviewed a number of teacher information sites and it appears that the average salary for Fayette County teachers is the same as neighboring counties. Given, this does not mean that every position is paid the same
My question to you and all the other teachers who whine about how little pay you get from Fayette County is why do you stay here? Why are you not applying for a teaching position in a county which according to some of you pays more?

youalldrivemecrazy
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I looked at some salary

I looked at some salary schedules. I used 10 year of teaching experience as the standard.

County name.........with a BA......with a Masters
Coweta..............45,313..........52,028
Cobb.................47,807.........54,000
Clayton..............46,042.........52,004
Fulton...............46,200.........51,264
Gwinnett.............45,317.........51,895
Fayette..............42,113.........48,428

What would you conclude?

About this perk, while everyone calculates cost per student by taking the total spending on education for the system and dividing by the number of kids, as I'm sure everyone realizes, it doesn't mean the cost for any particular kid is really that. Adding a 21st kid in a class doesn't really cost the system much more than the class cost at 20 kids, especially when you consider that the bulk of costs are in personnel. If the student fits into an already existing class without going over the maximum class size, I wouldn't be surprised if the costs were less than 500 per kid.

fluffybear
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Didn't your parents teach you not to lie

What I would include is you don't know how to read a chart or purposely skewed the numbers to make Fayette County appear as they pay less.
In all of the above counties with the exception of Fayette, you have the complete total salary (including county differential) while with Fayette for some reason you decided to provide these good folks with only the state minimum & not include the county differential.

A Fayette County Teacher with 10 years of experience and having a Bachelors Degree is actually paid $46,254
while a Fayette County teacher with 10 years of experience and having a Masters Degree s actually paid $53,172.

For those of you who do not believe me and are interested in reviewing the salary schedule for teachers, stop by the FCBOE website and look to the right hand side near the bottom for 'Salary Schedules'.

youalldrivemecrazy
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It was unintentional, but I

It was unintentional, but I agree that I misread the chart and took the top number for Fayette.

Solution Seeker
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another perspective...and from someone who knows.

As a dedicated teacher, who lives outside Fayette county- I have to say that I am torn about the comments that I am reading in relation to this article authored by Ben Nelms. I understand the concerns that are being brought to light here, however, I wonder if the true nature of the job as a teacher is understood. If Fayette county can offer me a salary that is equal to or more than surrounding counties I would be more than happy to pay a reasonable amount for my children to attend Fayette county schools. If Fayette county decides to compensate me for the hundreds- dare I say- thousands of hours beyond my normal working hours that I put into my classroom and the children that I teach- I would be more than happy to pay a reasonable amount for my children to attend Fayette county schools. If Fayette county decided to compensate my family for the money that we spend supporting the school through the PTO and other fund raising activities- then I would be more than happy to pay a reasonable amount for my children to attend Fayette county schools. If Fayette county decides to reimburse me for the hundreds- if not thousands of dollars I spend on my own classroom when I buy necessary supplies, and all the extra stuff that goes into making Fayette county schools the exceptional schools they are- then I will be happy to pay a reasonable amount for my children to attend Fayette county schools. However, until this happens- it makes me sick to my stomach to know that the parents/grandparents of the children that I work so hard for, that I worry about, that I spend more time with during the school year than you do- can be so hard hearted as to deny children of dedicated emplyees from having the best education they can. It honestly makes me question my loyalty to a group of stakeholders who care so little for their employees. Why should I put so much of my life into your community, when all you want to do is shut me out of it? No wonder the children these days have such a sense of entitlement. I wonder where they get it from?

G35 Dude
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Wedrod & Solution Seeker-Torn or appreciated?

The way I see it 16 people so far have posted here and only 3 support taking your benefit. While they may have posted multiple times it is still only 3. Some people will always be short sighted or plain greedy. I guess that's how they can afford to own several houses in Fayette County. Having said all of that I see you being supported by over 80% of the people here that you serve. Unscientific yes, but I bet that percentage would hold or even go up some if all of Fayette County were to be polled. That is a reason to fell appreciated not torn. I salute you!!

Solution Seeker
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You are absolutely right

You are right about that and I thank you for your support! I think we sometimes get tired of always being the scapegoat- no matter which way we turn.

G35 Dude
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SS-I understand

The vocal minority can be very loud at times.

chippie
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totally agree with Solution Seeker

To begin with, I am not an employee of the BOE, my children are now in college ...

I want to address the comment from the poster who thinks schools get a lot of donations of money and supplies from parents/guardians. I was very active in the PTO/PTSO in my children's schools, from elementary through high school. The parents are most involved, active and participate while their children are in elementary, then much less so in middle school, and most of them are totally not involved in high school. The years I was in our high school's PTSO, we asked for $20 per family, no matter how many children they had attending the school. The $20 we asked for was to help with classroom supplies, clinic supplies, Student of the Month recognitions, etc. in lieu of having a fundraiser. The last year I was involved, we received donations from 20 families, that was out of a school with over 1500 students. That $400 didn't go far on supplies. It was about the same number of families who sent in supplies, too. Our PTSO meetings were regularly attended by less than 10 parents. From what I saw, teachers at the high school level got much less support from across the board. This is a perk that needs to stay in place if FCBOE is going to continue to keep some of their best, and most dedicated, teachers.

Spyglass
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To a teacher in the Fayette System..

I want to give you my sincere thanks for what you do. Keep up the good work. This citizen appreciates it.

Solution Seeker
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Thanks Spyglass

Your support means a lot to all of us! We really want to do our best for ALL the kids!

wedrod
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Where are you coming up with

Where are you coming up with 9k to educate children? The article said it cost the county 4k. I am referring to the $1000 dollars tuition that was considered a few years back. I will take your challenge on that one. I can't count how many trips to Education Station we make in a school year. As far as what you pay,thank you. I do the same for my children on top of what we pay out of pocket for yours.

fluffybear
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Did you not say that you have

Did you not say that you have 2 kids in our system? $4,000+ x2 kids - That's $8,000 instead of $9,000. I am sorry but that seems to be a rather small mistake.

So you are paying a $1,000 tuition x2 for your kids? That leaves $6,000 in supplies you need to be buying for our kids before I think we can call it a wash.

Even at a $1,000 x 2, you really think you have spent $2,000 every year on supplies which go directly to our students?

As I said in another post, I might be willing to consider leaving this perk in place for teachers but under no circumstances do I believe this perk should be open to ALL employees.

Citizen_Steve
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Dupe

Wedrod, please don't be duped. The article says, "The cost to educate a child in our system is $8,241. The local taxpayer has to shoulder about $4,241 of that cost for each student."

The second sentence is false - a lie. Local taxpayers shoulder the entire burden. Just because the money is funneled through other tax collection vehicles (eg. federal, state) does not mean the local taxpayer does not pay it.

Suppose I paid half your mortgage payment and you paid an equal amount of mine. Would it be true to say you only have to shoulder half of your mortgage payment, and I only have to shoulder half of mine? True in some technical way but false in general.

I realize Ben is illustrating the disparity between taxes paid in the county of residence vs. the cost picked up by Fayette, resulting in a boon to the county of residence and a burden to us. But he hasn't scratched the surface of the inequity of the situation - factor in how the government forces folks without kids and those who opt out of government schools to pay to educate our kids and pay your salary - the whole situation is a mess.

Steve

Solution Seeker
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another way to look at it...

Considering Fayette county schools are one of the top in the state- the nation as well- that means that many children are being educated through this system. Citizens who do not have personal children in schools are still going to benefit from the hard work of the education system when those said students are all grown up and making decisions as citizens and leaders of the community that you live in. I would think anyone that lives in the USA would want the best education for all children so that the future of our country will be as bright as possible. Citizenship- it effects us all.

wedrod
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As a parent of two of these

As a parent of two of these children I would gladly pay to bring my children to Fayette County. However, as a trade off, I want Fayette County to repay my family all the money we have spent out of pocket on classroom supplies to educate your children. I consider it a push.

fluffybear
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And you have spent upwards of

And you have spent upwards of $9,000 of your own personal money (each year) on classroom supplies to help educate our children? What about those supplies which we parents buy before the beginning of each year or all those supplies purchased by the PTO and other groups.

You show me receipts for $9,000 in supplies for the 2011-2012 school year which are directly related to my childs education and will gladly change my mind.

Solution Seeker
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Clarification

Just to be clear...due to the economy, teachers have been encouraged not to put out a "wish list" that include a lot of the extras that a classroom uses to keep things running smoothly and germ free-or at least a little less germy. Add to that the directive from administration to reduce the required amount of school supplies for students at the beginning of the year, and the supplies have to come from somewhere. Teachers are then forced to decide if they are going to foot the bill themselves and purchase the supplies with their own money- or change the method and strategies that we use to teach due to the lack of supplies. See, the catch 22 here is, you don't want quality instruction, high expectations, and students who exceed expectations to change- but you aren't willing to help teachers reach those goals. Don't get me wrong- we have a great PTO, but teachers don't want to ask for every little thing- wait for it to be approved- and then wait for it to be purchased and delivered. We don't have time for that- and sometimes things just come up (those are called teachable moments and you can't always plan ahead- in case that was going to be your suggestion). So, while the total may not add up to $8,000 in actual receipts...I can guarantee that I have Target, Kroger, Walmart, Education Station, Schoolbox, Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, and Scholastic receipts that would add up to more than you would guess. And since I can only write off $300 on taxes, that means that the rest of it- I don't get back. When you add that to the countless hours that I work after school in the building- every night after putting my children to bed, weekends, and YES...even summers- I feel quite confident that, should I be compensated for those working hours, the total would come much closer to the $8,000 than you would think. What is really a shame is that the entire education profession is looked upon as a babysitting service- yet we are also expected to educate children in academics, social issues, cultural issues, emotional issues, and more. What would be really great would be the community at large deciding to treat educators like the professionals that we are- and compensate us for the work that we do (maybe I should start billing for my hours like lawyers and other professionals do- I can count 11.25 hours this week alone between after school and night hours that I have put in for school), I understand that you have strong opinions- and I respect that (one of the things that we teach at school- respect and tolerance of others), but I do wish you could learn to think of others and not just yourself. A little understanding, some practice at perspective, and some good will might make life a little happier for all of us.

fluffybear
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Let's do some math:There are

Let's do some math:

There are 365 (366) days in a year
School is in session 180 days
Staff Days on Calendar: 10
The average school day is 6 hours + lunch
The average worker works (6 paid holidays + 2 weeks vacation): 244 days
The average worker works 8 hours + lunch

I realize many teachers spend time in their classroom before & after class so I'll give you the 1.5 hours a day we are missing (even though we both know most teachers do not spend that much extra time in their classroom daily) but we do need to subtract that from your 11.25 hours leaving you 3.75 hours. When we look at the 54 day difference between your normal work schedule and that of the average worker, your well compensated for the 3.75 additional hours a week you put in.

Let us also not forget some of those extra benefits you get that most in the world do not. You know the 1 week off at Thanksgiving, 2 weeks at Christmas, 1 week in February, & 1 week for Spring Break. Do we even dare talk about the fact that many teachers do not hand out homework several days before vacations just so they won't have to do any work during these vacations & stop handing out homework all together the first week of May.

Citizen_Steve
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Thanks Wedrod

Wedrod, thanks for your service to our kids! I hope you at least claim that money as an unreimbursed business expense on your taxes.

Steve

kcchiefandy
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Excellent comment, wedrod!

Nice to hear from someone on the 'front lines', as it were; someone with a 'this is how it really is' view! Thanks for your commitment and all that you do!

NUK_1
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Teacher perks

There's a lot of discussion about how FC and especially PTC can attract new employers that will bring in more jobs and revenue. "Incentives" are mentioned and are always seemingly expected, especially if it may be the kind of company that will have those elusive high paying jobs that will really impact the local economy positively.

In this case, FC and everyone who lives in it has a vested interest in having a good public school system as the effects are felt throughout the county in major ways. To be better than the average sorry GA public school system, you have to get the most desirable people into the system. This perk that means 361 out-of-county kids seems like a real "incentive" to attract teachers to the FC school system who will accept slightly lower pay/benefits than other school systems because they want their own children to have a better than average GA education and they want to teach a good environment with active parents instead of the usual crap. Teachers and their own children/students in this case become very much invested in the FC school system, which is a real winning scenario all-around.

I think this would be way down on my list of things to cut. When the most obvious like closing/selling schools, changing the school calendar, strategic reductions/realignment of bus routes, headcount reductions at BOE Admin, getting rid of out of county freeloaders, etc. are on the table, pick the lowest hanging fruit first here.

For those thinking you can simply raise taxes and cut nothing at all, sorry, wrong. Due to terrible mismanagement and complete stupidity for several years, BOE has already hit the maximum of 20mils allowed by the GA State Constitution and it cannot be increased AND the budget has to be balanced as mandated by same. If after a real determined effort to cut the projected 10mil deficit down and every other effort is exhausted, this perk might have to be modified or even eliminated, but there had better be a long list in front of it.

RT Tugger
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Personnel costs must be cut

Those are Dr. Bearden's words, not mine. For all of you who insist we can’t touch teacher benefits, where do you expect the $10 million to come from? Nuk, you make some great points, but how many of those suggestions are likely to come to fruition? Dr. Bearden already said school closings are off the table. They’re not going to take away bus service. I don’t know if they’re even capable of strategically realigning bus routes. I had a discussion once with a BOE administrator about bus routes, and I got the impression that the attempted changes became too difficult and they eventually gave up.
No one is buying our land for sale. They’re not going to get $10M by reducing the number of copies the teachers can make. They’ve proven time and time again they’re not going to expel all the illegal out-of-county students. People always complain about the illegal students, but parents and taxpayers haven’t been willing to put their money where their mouth is and put pressure on the BOE to remove these students. It's been a handful of people trying to fight that battle. Yes, the BOE SHOULD cut a bunch of those high-dollar jobs at the county level, but cuts there are likely to be minimal. Dr. Bearden has stated publicly that this district needs to be “right-sized” (his term). What he means is that we have far too many employees for the number of students we serve. Personnel is 91% of this school system’s budget! Where do you want to cut if not in personnel? This school district has been financially mismanaged for years, and we have a hole that will only be filled by cutting personnel costs. Dr. Bearden has stated that very clearly. To me, I’d rather see someone’s perk reduced or taken away than see them lose their job. Haven’t any of you seen your own benefits reduced since 2007? I sure have, but at least I still have a job.

Insayn
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Bus routes

You said something about not cutting bus service. I wonder if they've looked (more) at shortening them. Im not talking about making the kids walk two miles to the bus stops, but shortening them by stopping at the entrance to a neighborhood instead of driving through every single one stopping every ten houses?

That can add up every day if one bus cuts one mile off its route by stopping at the entrances. Lets say the bus only makes two routes a day, that two miles a day, 360 miles a year. Multiply that by however many buses there are running every day.

Granted some neighborhoods like Lakemont, Planterra, Pinegate, neighborhoods on state highways are just too big or dangerous for the kids to be standing on the side of the road.

Most of us are old enough to remember actually walking to the bus stop and waiting in the rain without mom's or dad's waiting there with us or sitting in a car or golf cart for the bus to come.

fluffybear
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let's not forget snow
Insayn wrote:

Most of us are old enough to remember actually walking to the bus stop and waiting in the rain without mom's or dad's waiting there with us or sitting in a car or golf cart for the bus to come.

Let us not forget those (I'm not one of them) who actually remember doing that when it was below ZERO and snowing as well.

lettinguno
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Walk more than 100 yards to

catch a bus or walk to school? Heaven forbid. That would be cruel and unusual punishment for a child. Imagine, having to walk or ride a bike to school nowadays when Mommy has a nice van or SUV with a fully equipped game system.

NUK_1
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Personnel costs definitely need to be cut

There are redundant(and well paid) superintendent positions that needed to be eliminated years ago and now is the time. I agree with Bearden that the personnel costs have been out of line and for quite some time, but can't agree on taking ANYTHING off the table like school closings/redistricting when you have a 10mil shortfall to make up......in ONE year.

I would hate to see the perk taken away in regards to teachers and their own children attending, but I would never declare that or anything else as "off the table!" at this point in the process of finding where to cut 10million bucks.

Citizen_Steve
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Cut iPads at least

No question there's waste abound; we could start by not purchasing any more iPads for administrators, and hawking the existing ones on Ebay.

Steve

BHH
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Worth studying.

But probably not a good idea as the savings would only be theoretical and never actually realized completely.

h2otom
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No more perks !!!!!!!!!!

The BOE has no money, there for the out of county kids go to school in there county of residance, period. It is a harsh thing to do, but it is the ONLY way to save money without cutting pay,and raising taxes....

suggarfoot
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this has been done by most counties

for a long time. This isn't the group of kids that are eating us alive.

It is the kids that have no parent working here.

What is going on now with all the out of county kids coming in and not paying is a mockery of every middle class person, many single Moms, that move here and do without to pay the high taxes so their kids can go to a good public school. It isn't fair that we moved here, paid the taxes to give our kids a good education and somebody else just brings theirs across the line and pays nothing.

What I would like to see is throw the out of county kids out, and our taxes will, and should, go down. Fair is fair.

kcchiefandy
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Agreed, Suggar, and to Fluffy's comment...

...I disagree. Enticing quality teachers w/ a benefit (or perk - just like those that brought Dr. Bearden here) such as this is an excellent low-cost way to get to pick & choose and select the best. Just because a teacher may not be able to AFFORD to live here (teachers don't make a lot, I hear), we're going to limit our hirings to those who only agree to move here? And want them to perhaps sell their houses to move, in this market?? Silly! It only BENEFITS US to bring in quality teachers for an added 361 kids (whose parent{s} may eventually move here), a w/ the student population declining, we'll NEED those #'s for FED & ST funding issues/programs.

fluffybear
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I have never liked the idea

I have never liked the idea of allowing out of county kids in our school system PERIOD. We need to start thinking of Fayette County Schools as 'Private' when it comes to out of county students and that includes children of employee's. If it costs $5,000 to school these kids then the parents should be paying something in the way of $10,000 (time we made a few extra bucks for the inconvenience of having additional kids in our classrooms) and it should be paid by cashier's checkprior to August 1 otherwise the kid does not get assigned a teacher and can not come to this school.

Not only should our taxes go down as we don't have to pay for these free-loaders but just maybe our schools will finally have some extra cash to buy necessary supplies.

Citizen_Steve
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Government Minded Math

"The cost to educate a child in our system is $8,241. The local taxpayer has to shoulder about $4,241 of that cost for each student"

So who pays the $4000 balance.... the "remote" taxpayer? Give me a break! Another gov't bureaucrat trying to convince us that our glorious State magically causes money to appear to our benefit. Hail to the State.

Don't be duped by what government officials say, or by what The Citizen reports. Just because the government shuffles, borrows, and prints money does not mean that we do not ultimately bear the responsibility for what we spend.

Steve

bladderq
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$4k ..really?

I believe that there is an economy of scale missing from this anyalysis. The 361 is spread out across the entire system and it is not like they are adding a 10 - 15 extra classroom burden on 1 school.
And 361 is what % of the total enrollment?

RT Tugger
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This perk needs to end

With a $10 shortfall, ending this perk would go a long way toward balancing the budget. Dr. DeCotis had the right idea by suggesting tuition, but even that doesn't go far enough in our current situation. The BOE just has to have the backbone to take action.

Ninja Guy
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The Ninja Guy Says

leave this perk in place! From what I understand, Fayette County teachers' salaries are lower than in surrounding school districts! Allowing them to enroll their students here might attract some quality teachers that might otherwise teach elsewhere! Stop looking solely at taxes and start focusing on quality, even if it costs more! Don't let the Motel Six Mentality pervade our fine city!

Palmetto calls if you want low taxes!

fluffybear
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After calling a friend of

After calling a friend of mine in Arizona who has been a teacher for over 20 years, I started to review a couple of Teacher Information sites, it appears the AVERAGE Salary for a Fayette County teacher is quite comprable to that of other Atlanta Metro Districts. In my short review (10 counties in the Atlanta Metro Area), I found only 1 county where the average teacher salary was more while I found 2 where it was less. the other 7, exactly the same as Fayette County. The Average Elementary School teacher - $53,450, The Average Middle School teacher - $52,520
& The Average High School Teacher - $54,880. These look like quite respectable average wages.

As for quality, I have to ask what do we have to compare this to? Can anyone show me a statistic which says teachers who live in "Fayette County" are not as good as those from neighboring counties?

fluffybear
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I have to wonder how many of

I have to wonder how many of you who like this perk are employees in the Fayette County school system? and possibly a beneficiary of this perk?

G35 Dude
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fluffy-You're bearly thinking

Your post seems to insinuate that only people that are going to benefit from this perk are defending it. I submit to you that we all are benefiting from this perk indirectly. I have no direct vested interest. My kids are in college or beyond. So you'd think that I would be one of those yelling to cut the benefit. But I think I understand what will happen to Fayette County as a whole when/if the school system fails like in Clayton. I do own a home and would like for it to still have some value in the future. Maybe you don't own a home here? Read wedrod's post above. I think this teacher makes a valid point. Teachers here are already underpaid and then spend their own money to buy classroom supplies. You'd have to be a real Scrooge to even want to cut their benefits to save yourself a couple of dollars.

fluffybear
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I don't believe I insinuated

I don't believe I insinuated anything.
My wife and I own several homes in Fayette County and have 3 children (2 of which are in elementary school) and I don't think I am being a scrooge to want to cut an unnecessary benefits. You seem to believe this perk is just for teachers. Had you spent anytime reading the article, you would have noticed this perk benefits any employee in the system and that includes everyone from the bus drivers to janitors, to the teachers to the superintendent himself. Let's restrict the perk to just 'certified' teachers and possibly administrators and maybe I will feel different but when this perk is available to every single employee then I believe it is the time to say STOP.

Brer Rabbit
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You just lost your argument

You own several houses in Fayette and you are griping about paying taxes and buying supplies? Please! While you are busy ranting against all of these wretched outsiders freeloading on you, don't forget about the thousands of people who drive into your lovely little towns to work, shop, buy gas, buy food, and so forth. These people don't pay a dime in property tax here either, but they sure do help all of you keep the lights on and the streets clean! I cannot beleive you would begrudge an incentive given to those in public education that are arguably one of the most underpaid and underappreciated groups in our society.

You should buy a house where I live and try paying for private school for two because you live in a county with failing schools. I pay property tax to support the aforementioned failing public system, then add on private school tuition, books, testing fees and 100% of the supplies! I pay the tuition because I want my kids to get a good education and I buy the supplies because I appreciate the teachers and all they do to teach my children. How nice would it be for me to have a voucher to direct my tax money to the school system of my choice!

I realize that budgets are tight and changes are needed, but your schools are one of the county's greatest assets. You need to think twice about diminishing that resource.

justacitizen
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fluffybear

I can not believe your statement "Let's restrict the perk to just 'certified' teachers and possibly administrators". The bus drivers and janitors and teachers aids all work for the same county are "certified teachers" a better class? Why not get the same benefits? I guess you believe one is better than the other. What a snob!! Most work places offer benefits to ALL their employees, hotel chains, restaurants, airlines, retail stores, I say charge them a fee to enroll their kids in Fayette Co. schools. Lots of company's off set the cost of these benefits with an enrollment fee. fluffybear if you are not old money and I doubt you are do not forget where you started!! Stop being a snob. I respect those who do the jobs I no longer have to do. You know why? Because I have done them..

fluffybear
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Many employers have different

Many employers have different level of perks for their employees. The higher your grade is, the more you get so I see no reason why our school system can not be any different. I'll give in and say we can keep the out-of-county employee kids in school but let's charge a tuition based on scale.
Non-Professional employee's pay $3,000 a kid
Teachers Aids pays $2,500
Teachers & Admin's - $2,000

G35 Dude
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Define Scrooge
Quote:

My wife and I own several homes in Fayette County and have 3 children (2 of which are in elementary school) and I don't think I am being a scrooge to want to cut an unnecessary benefits.

You own several homes in Fayette County and you want to take away some benefits from people that can't afford one? And you don't think you're a Scrooge?

fluffybear
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most of the teachers I have

most of the teachers I have encountered tend to come from Cowetta County and the last time I looked at property there, the prices of homes were not much different from those in Peachtree City.

G35 Dude
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Research?

Now you're just reaching unless you've done some research. If so tell me what percentage come from each surrounding county.

Quote:

most of the teachers I have encountered tend to come from Cowetta County and the last time I looked at property there, the prices of homes were not much different from those in Peachtree City.

fluffybear
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next time please take a few

next time please take a few extra minutes and actually read what I said. I believe I said, "The teachers I have encountered tend to come from Coweta County". By no means does this mean that every teacher is from Coweta County.

G35 Dude
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Amen Ninja

Amen Ninja. Fayette County BOE is the lowest paying in the metro area. Let these short sighted people cry and try to save a few dollars on the perks and watch this school system sink lower than a snakes belly in a wagon wheel rut. Then they'll cry again without ever realizing why it happened. Actually I kind of see this article as a low blow by the Citizen in and of itself. As stated above it's the kids attending that have no right at all to be here that cause the problems.

fluffybear
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Can anyone actually prove to

Can anyone actually prove to me that it is the lowest paid in the Atlanta area? No offense but I went and checked a number of teacher information sites and what I find is Fayette County was not the lowest paid. The 'Average Salary' for a teacher is 45,350 while the 'Average' Salary in Coweta was 45,350 and in Cobb County, $45,350. As a matter of fact, I went and checked 10 Atlanta area counties and 7 of them had the same 'Average' Salary as Fayette County. 2 counties had a lower 'Average' Salary while only 1 paid more and that was only by $40.

Unless someone can actually show me proof to this, I'm sorry but I think the line Fayette County teachers are paid the least in pure crap..

Spyglass
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Ninja is paying attention

to the bigger picture.

MYTMITE
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Spy, I agree with you and Ninja completely. I don't know if the

practice is stil in place but when I worked for a university we were offered tuition remission. You could have a bigger paycheck out of the academic realm but it was worth it to have a lower paycheck and have tuition paid for you and your family. Of course, you had to pass admission tests and maintain a certain grade point average but that would have been a pre-requisite for paid admission also. I found this offered a wonderful opportunity for me to give a first class education at a four year college to my children which I would not have been able to do working outside the academic area. If you completed your four year stint you could then apply for admission for a higher degree, i.e., graduate school, school of engineering, education and even medical school. It was a win/win situation for the school because they were able to keep their most productive employees and it made it possible for employees and their families to obtain degrees that would have been out of financial reach otherwise. I imagine this is the same reasoning behind Fayette County allowing dependents of school employees to attend schools in their district. As long as they are not taking a seat from a Fayette county student or are not responsible for the class sizes becoming unmanagable it seems a wise choice.

rmoc
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keep perk in place

I hardly ever agree with Ninja but he is correct. This perk keeps some quality teachers in the district and when my kids were in school they had some great bus drivers who just did the job for the school perk. This might be a penny-wise pound foolish idea to end the perk.

Robert W. Morgan
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My guess is the 361 have about 200 parents

who are among the most dedicated and responsible teachers in our system. After all, they care enough about their kids education to commute from somewhere to work here and the kids having access to a better school system is probably their major motivation. So, you want to vote them off the island? Go ahead, but think it through. You think those 200 staffers and teachers are going to throw their kids back into Clayton County schools and keep working here? No, they will take their kids (and the $4,000 from the state) and go to work in another county.

Penny-wise and pound foolish indeed. Seems like we do a lot of that lately.

Better to focus on the illegal kids. Bet there is at least 361 of them. Get rid of them and then we can get on with the task of actually closing schools. I noticed the new super decided to kick that can down the road, but he'll have to face up to that eventually. BTW, if you are smart about closing schools, you have a double dip into reducing that deficit. How? First, you close the school, reassign the kids and reduce the teachers and staff. Second, you sell the school buildings and land for redevelopment - most likely senior's housing. Of course if I were doing it, I'd take bids from developers first and that's how I would decide which schools to close. Think that will get me elected to the school board?

G35 Dude
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RWM- Want to be tarred and feathered? LOL
Quote:

Of course if I were doing it, I'd take bids from developers first and that's how I would decide which schools to close. Think that will get me elected to the school board?

As long as you didn't announce which schools you were planning to close. As soon as parents find out that their school was chosen to close you'll be tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail!!! LOL Everybody is in favor of this type answer until you tell them that it was their Ox that was picked to be gored.

Robert W. Morgan
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Tar and feathers; sticks and stones

Don't really care. Of course I would do everything by secret, sealed bid and hire security at $1,000 per day, maybe an armored SUV (I'd need a huge security budget if I get elected), but I'm not really worried about a few soccer moms with long nails. All this neighborhood school stuff is so much nonsense anyway. What is that all about? Cutting down on Mommy's driving distance to school? Assuring your kid goes to school for 12 years with the same friends? What crap. I think we should bus kids across the county so they can experience diversity first hand. And bus different kids to different places each year to maximize the experience.

What's the alternative? Keep building schools because we think we are a fast growing county? Having people elected to school board who think they can please everyone and get reelected? Lose $20million of tax dollars each year? Just keep on doing the same thing over and over and hope it all turns out differently.

Even at today's deflated values a small elementary school could be sold to a developer for $5 million; probably get $10 million for a middle school.

G35 Dude
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RWM-You'd need the security!!!!

The Tyrone people got really upset when they heard that Tyrone Elementary was chosen to close. But that school is old and I'm sure it costs more to keep it up than a newer one. Say like Rivers. You know the one that is sitting there empty. Still for whatever reason those people would not go along with the plan. I too think that closing Hood Ave and Tyrone Elem and combining them into one school (Rivers) would be a nice cost savings. I think they'd fit, but I guess it is kind of a status thing having a school no more than 2 miles from your house.

Instead people would rather deny our BOE employees benefits that every other county in the state has to save money.

Robert W. Morgan
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Don't really care about the Tyronese

or even my security, but I guess you are saying no election to the school board for me? So sad. I really wanted to serve - well no, I actually wanted to rule.

G35 Dude
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RWM & Fluffy - What say you to this?

I've noticed that every high school in Fayette County has a nice football stadium on the grounds. As well as other fields for sports. Why not take a page out of Clayton County's book and build 2 nice stadiums for the high schools to share? Fewer stadiums = less upkeep, cost savings. Then make a longer school day so as to have fewer school days. (I know they are looking at this option) Also change the schools start and end times so that school bus drivers can drive an elementary, middle, and high school route. Currently most drivers do 2 of the 3 schools because the timing does not allow all 3 in one day. Thereby reducing the number of buses needed. And combining schools where possible as already discussed here. What say you Oh ruler of the schools and saver of the monies?

fluffybear
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I have always thought that

I have always thought that schools should share athletic facilities. After all, it is good enough for professional sport franchises so why not High School.

I also have no problem with adjusting the school start/end times as necessary in order to have 1 driver work all 3 schools. Matter of fact, I think I had suggested this very thing a few years back in this very forum & was called a bunch of names for being so insensitive to the poor hard working bus drivers.

Robert W. Morgan
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Maes perfect sense to me G,guy

2 stadiums? Sure, after all half the games are away so why have all those empty football fields each week?
You know my thoughts on buses, so anything about fewer is better.

The unused stadiums can be turned into glorious dog parks where people take Fido and teach Frisbee. Seniors could sit in the stands ($5 per visit) and watch. OR we could use the old stadiums for Flag Football. Everyone that has a Fantasy Football Team would recruit 8 others and show up with their chosen players unis on and play flag football. Matt at the city could video it and post it on the City's website. $5 per Youtube download. The seniors who are still there could bet on the outcome. $5 and the city would tax the winner - another $5.

Reasonable solutions to everyday problems.

Ninja Guy
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Tar and Sticks, Feathers and Stones!

I would go one up on you there RWM, by forcing schools in Mexico and Central America to take one of our local Fayette County kids to educate for every student without proper documentation found here! The same goes for students from Clayton and south Fulton found to be attending here out of district too, as these areas are near third-world status! Tit for tat! This would easily solve the border-hopping problem! Can you imagine teachers in schools far to our south having to deal with semi-affluent, non-Spanish speaking kids on a daily basis! I think the would send a 747 up here to pick up the great undocumented right quick!

Aut disce aut discede!

Is Aaron Rodgers even capable of playing a bad game?!

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