Recession may cost Albany a school - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Recession may cost Albany a school

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Dougherty School board chairman David Maschke says to save tax dollars, Board members should consider closing Martin Luther King Elementary Junior Elementary school.

He says he's trying to think outside the box in order to make major cuts to help the system meet the budget.

Like all tax based entities, the Dougherty County School system is struggling to find enough money to meet its needs for the next school year. So board Chairman David Maschke is challenging fellow members to come up with aggressive ways to cut costs.

One suggestion he made, to close Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School.

"One of my suggestions was to consider closing that school and redistributing those elementary students to other nearby elementary schools that have the capacity available," said David Maschke, Board Chairman.

He says the population of that school has been dwindling and another elementary school is less than a mile away. Maschke says the alternative program could move into the MLK facility and its current site on Highland be shut down.

"We know we're going to have certain basic expenses just based on the numbers of students we have, numbers of teachers we have to have so we have to try to be a little creative and work at overhead costs and personnel costs where we can and closing a facility would be a way to save real dollars if indeed our facilities are underutilized."

Maschke also wants to closely scrutinize salaries and make sure teachers aren't paid beyond the pay scale. And he wants to eliminate magnet programs that are not paying dividends. Of course, all of his ideas are just that, and may sound drastic, but he says that may be necessary.

"In these economic times and challenges that we have and knowing that our taxpayers in Dougherty County are going to be challenged just to meet their basic tax payment requirements I think it's necessary for the board to be as aggressive as possible in considering the budget."

In order to give kids the best education possible, without breaking the bank for taxpayers.

One way the system will save money is by increasing class sizes next year. By doing that, they will be able to lower the number of teachers by 17.

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