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Raises proposed for Fulton Schools staff in FY 2014 budget


Preliminary budget includes first pay increase since 2009



April 24, 2013
FULTON COUNTY, Ga. – Fulton School System personnel will likely see the first bump in their paychecks in five years with a proposed 3 percent raise included in the fiscal year 2014 budget. However federal funding cuts because of sequestration will likely result in the loss of 23 to 40 positions in special education.

During the April 18 board meeting, members got their first look at the proposed FY14 budget, which will go into effect on July 1. The $836.5 million general budget reflects a slight decrease from the current year budget, yet still proposes no increase in millage rate and includes a 3 percent salary increase, as well as other school-based enhancements.

Budget officials attribute the improving outlook of the economy, conservative budgeting over the past several years and other factors which led to the recommendation for employee raises and other positive impacts.

"The past few years have been tough financially for school systems but the Fulton School Board made difficult funding decisions [in past years], and this puts us in a much better financial situation today," said Superintendent Robert Avossa.

Under the proposed budget, schools will receive an additional $44 per student, and supplements for employees involved in athletics and extracurricular activities will also receive a 10 percent increase for their additional duties.

In developing the FY14 budget, school officials pointed to a new budgeting process that allowed them to do more with less going forward. Last year, the school board approved a modified zero-based budget approach that made financial planning a year-long process. The new process requires departmental budgets be developed from the bottom up and based on need rather than just last year's figures carried forward.

"Zero-based budgeting required our school system to align its funding requests to district priorities," said Avossa. "Department heads presented their budgets, and our cabinet evaluated each item closely so we would be sure that every request directly tied to the priorities and that every taxpayer dollar would be spent as it should."

Direct instruction will continue to consume the greatest portion of the budget, with 67 percent of total funds used primarily for salaries of those who work directly with students. The remaining 33 percent is budgeted for pupil transportation, maintenance and operations and other administrative functions.

The only dark spot going into next year is the loss of federal funds for the special education program, which will require a reduction of up to 40 paraprofessional positions. While exact figures have not been released by the federal government, Fulton School officials are anticipating a 6 to 8 percent cut in Title VI-B funds, which translates to a reduction from $704,000 to $1.2 million from this year.

A spokesperson for the department said cuts will impact only staff that do not work directly with students, and are there more as a "second set of hands" for teachers. Currently, there are 530 paraprofessionals in the Fulton School System, so the cuts represent less than a 10 percent reduction.

The school board is expected to review the budget again next month, with tentative approval slated for May 16. Final approval will occur in June.

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Tags: Education News & School Sports

  1. report print email
    Special Education Cuts in 2013-2014 budget
    April 30, 2013 | 07:22 PM

    I guess the tough decisions that have been made and the improving economy are all good news. Pay increase of 3% - great! If only the story stopped there...

    The last two paragraphs will be skipped or skimmed by most people. But what is said in these two paragraphs is chilling.

    First, the average salary of a Fulton County Parapro is in the range of $20,000 per year. That 3% increase equals $50 per month before taxes. Not exactly a bonanza.

    Secondly, the 23-40 Special Education Parapros that are losing their job are being rewarded with a 100% pay reduction. Again, not exactly a bonanza.

    In the story Parapros are referred to as staff that does 'not work directly with students'. Nothing could be further from the truth. If that is truly the understanding of the 'spokesman of the department' it indicates a disturbing level of ignorance of what goes on within his own organization.

    This is the part of the story that is the most disturbing. That the value of the highly dedicated and trained Special Education Parapros are being dismissed, literally and figuratively by the Fulton County Board of Education. And our students that require and deserve the most help have been singled out as the ones who will suffer next year.

    Jim Rice
    Johns Creek
  2. report print email
    Special Education Cuts in 2013-2014 budget
    April 30, 2013 | 07:22 PM

    I guess the tough decisions that have been made and the improving economy are all good news. Pay increase of 3% - great! If only the story stopped there...

    The last two paragraphs will be skipped or skimmed by most people. But what is said in these two paragraphs is chilling.

    First, the average salary of a Fulton County Parapro is in the range of $20,000 per year. That 3% increase equals $50 per month before taxes. Not exactly a bonanza.

    Secondly, the 23-40 Special Education Parapros that are losing their job are being rewarded with a 100% pay reduction. Again, not exactly a bonanza.

    In the story Parapros are referred to as staff that does 'not work directly with students'. Nothing could be further from the truth. If that is truly the understanding of the 'spokesman of the department' it indicates a disturbing level of ignorance of what goes on within his own organization.

    This is the part of the story that is the most disturbing. That the value of the highly dedicated and trained Special Education Parapros are being dismissed, literally and figuratively by the Fulton County Board of Education. And our students that require and deserve the most help have been singled out as the ones who will suffer next year.

    Jim Rice
    Johns Creek
  3. report print email
    Special Education Cuts in 2013-2014 budget
    April 30, 2013 | 07:22 PM

    I guess the tough decisions that have been made and the improving economy are all good news. Pay increase of 3% - great! If only the story stopped there...

    The last two paragraphs will be skipped or skimmed by most people. But what is said in these two paragraphs is chilling.

    First, the average salary of a Fulton County Parapro is in the range of $20,000 per year. That 3% increase equals $50 per month before taxes. Not exactly a bonanza.

    Secondly, the 23-40 Special Education Parapros that are losing their job are being rewarded with a 100% pay reduction. Again, not exactly a bonanza.

    In the story Parapros are referred to as staff that does 'not work directly with students'. Nothing could be further from the truth. If that is truly the understanding of the 'spokesman of the department' it indicates a disturbing level of ignorance of what goes on within his own organization.

    This is the part of the story that is the most disturbing. That the value of the highly dedicated and trained Special Education Parapros are being dismissed, literally and figuratively by the Fulton County Board of Education. And our students that require and deserve the most help have been singled out as the ones who will suffer next year.

    Jim Rice
    Johns Creek
  4. report print email
    Time to wake up!
    May 01, 2013 | 10:50 AM

    Many quality teachers and administrators left Fulton County. Just recently Hopewell middle school principal announced his resignation and seems like about 10 quality teachers leaving hopewell middle school this year as well.

    This is a case almost everywhere in Fulton County Schools. People are very upset with this new superintendent, Robert Avossa. He is basically destroying the school system.

    Robert Avossa was not qualified for this job at first place.

    Now you know why there is a pay increase.

    We need a wake up call before Robert Avossa and board members ruin Fulton County School System.

    Concerned Parent
    Alpharetta
  5. report print email
    Time to be proud!
    May 11, 2013 | 02:29 PM

    So let me get this straight. Cobb will have 5 furlough days. Cherokee will have 8. APS currently has 3 furlough days. None have pay increases.
    Fulton Schools has zero furlough days for the past two years and none is projected for next year. Fulton Schools has provided a one time bonus for the past two years and they are recommending a 3 percent salary increase for the first time in 5 years. The parapro reduction is resulting from the sequestration of Federal funds. They will get first dibs on any non Federal parapro openings. Good budgeting in tough times.

    Let's Compare What Other Districts are doing
    Johns Creek
  6. report print email
    Time to Think Twice!
    May 13, 2013 | 04:44 PM

    he state Department of Education released 2012 grades for all k-12 public schools in Georgia based on a brand new measures called the Georgia College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI).

    I am sharing the overall elementary school grades for these districts as I thought they were a good window into the systems:

    Clayton Schools earned a 70.2.
    DeKalb Schools earned a 71.2
    Fulton Schools earned an 85.7
    Gwinnett Schools earned a 93.5.
    Cobb Schools earned an 85.4.
    Atlanta Schools earned 68.4.
    Fayette Schools earned a 94.8
    Decatur Schools earned a 93.7
    Coweta Schools earned an 85.2
    Forsyth Schools earned a 95.6

    Let's Compare with Forsyth, Decatur and Fayette
    Alpharetta
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