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Cobb School Board Reaches Budget Impasse

Board members can't agree on proposed spending cuts, furlough days and class size increases.

Updated 9:35 p.m. 

The Cobb Board of Education on Thursday failed to pass a proposed $842 million operating budget for fiscal year 2012-13, unable to agree on a combination of measures to address an estimated $62 million deficit. 

Four different alternatives were presented, and all four were defeated.

Among them were a proposal by East Cobb board member David Banks caling for two furlough days and no increase in class sizes; that measure was defeated by a 6-1 vote. 

The board voted 4-3 against another option that would include three furlough days and restoring funds for paraprofessionals. 

Board chairman Scott Sweeney of East Cobb said a special called meeting to be announced would be required to pass the budget impasse, but even he admitted he didn't know how the board's differences would be resolved.

Original Report: 

The Cobb County Board of Education is scheduled to vote tonight on the , the school calendar that accommodates the , a contractor to prepare for a  and the pursuit of donations and grants to support starting in the 2013-14 school year.

The board is meeting at 7 p.m. at the Central Office, 514 Glover St., Marietta. A half-hour of public comments will open the meeting, followed by for some newly crowned Georgia High School Association state champions.

You can follow all the action here and comment in real time in the space below.

Wendy Parker (Editor) May 18, 2012 at 01:31 AM
The Cobb school board on Thursday failed to pass a budget; a special called meeting TBA will be required to resolve proposed spending cuts, furlough days and increases in class sizes. What do you think of the school board's inability to get this done? How would you propose balancing the budget?
Todd May 18, 2012 at 02:51 PM
First of all, these board members should be required to tour the high schools while in session to get a good look of how over-crowded the rooms are right now. Walton High School has students sitting on top of each other, in chairs around tables as well as individual desks around the walls of the room. There is no room to add more students. Secondly, it is not the school board's responsibility to propose the budget; it is the Superintendent's job. Maybe Hinojosa should stop playing golf and running around the country and get some work done! As far as the budget is concerned, I would start by, firing all Area Superintendents, Hinojosa, Dr. Judy Jones, Brock & Clay, and Sheryl Hungerford. I would reduce the number of Directors of Curriculum Instruction down to two (2), do away with in-school suspension (budgeted at just under $3 million-FY10) and require all students who fail classes to take summer school at their own expense. However, the real question is: Why should the public do the Superintendent's job?
Carter K. May 18, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Todd, I hope that you are forwarding these suggestions to Mike Addison in the finance office at the CCSD. I completely agree with you that more personal responsibility must be taken by the families in the district. My suggestion would be to also cut the transportation budget to the bare bones of what is legally required or to require parents to pay to use the CCSD bus transportation. Transportation alone costs the district $1Million per week - this doesn't not include the inflated salaries for the part-time 180 day employees who receive full benefits + retirement. Transportation is the parents' responsibility and has a huge impact on the school budget. We cannot put more kids in a classroom without negatively impacting the quality of education.
Wendy Parker (Editor) May 18, 2012 at 08:59 PM
The Cobb school board will reconvene at 8:30 a.m. Monday to resume budget deliberations.
lisa56 May 19, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Transportation for students has not been the responsibility of parents since at least 1962. As for the part time employees known as bus drivers they more than deserve the pittance the receive as salary. Any person who can drive a school bus for 175 - 180 days a year is a saint in my opinion. Perhaps Carter K. might take a few rides on fully loaded school buses. I would bet that his lack of appreciation of the job of a school bus driver would quickly change to a sincere appreciation. Todd, the Superintendent and Mike Addison were the ones to have offered the original budget. I see no where that the public has done the job of either of these men. It is the board members who seem to think they know better than the Superintendent and Mr. Addison who are significantly better educated on the needs of a school system than are any of the board members. The board members behave more like children than the decision making elected officiials that they are. I certainly do not agree with everything idea that comes out of the county office but my main concern is the inability of the board members to work as a group and represent the people who elected them.
Carter K. May 19, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Lisa, I completely agree that the CCSB should have worked with Hinojosa and Addison on the budget and reached a budget compromise at the work sessions prior to the vote. My frustration is that no one is willing to make any changes other than to increase class sizes, and some of our board members have offered NO suggestions at all. (Not sure if Tim Stultz's recommendation to cut an additional $54M - or 700 teaching positions - from the budget actually counts.) Thank you for the suggestion - with 3 children in Cobb County schools - I've been on at least 2 field trips a year for the past 8 years, and because I work from home, I am the only parent standing at the bus stop every single day when the children come home from school. I am very familiar with the role of the Cobb County bus drivers. While I appreciate the bus drivers, they are making as much or more than the parapros and some of our classroom teachers. Parapros work directly with our kids and are required to have a college education - bus drivers are not. That information is readily available. Cuts have to come from somewhere, and we have to make adjustments in all areas - not just the classroom.

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