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School supplements frozen

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

July 28, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Dougherty County coaches, administrators, and counselors who get local supplements to their salaries won't get their annual increases this year. The supplements are frozen at last year's rate. One reason is a lawsuit over property tax revaluations. If the county loses, the school system will have to pay back money, money that will have to come out of the budget.

It's the reason many teachers become coaches, counselors and coordinators, a little incentive called supplemental pay. "We're always looking for cuts," said Finance Director Robert Lloyd.

And this year, supplemental raises are being cut. "Supplements have been frozen at last year's level and all supplements will be reviewed as part of the budget process for the 08-09 year."

So what does that mean? Let's say a head high school football coach made $60,000 last year. With a 30% supplement, his pay was bumped to $78,000. This year, he will automatically receive a 2.5% pay raise, but his supplement will be based on last year's salary, bringing his total paycheck to $79,500.  That's $450 less than expected.

Lloyd said, "Because they are based on a percentage, there's a multiplier effect in there which the school system may not be able to afford along with the unfunded mandates like teacher pay raises."

Freezing the supplements should save the system about $75,000 this year, and they'll look at further cuts to trim the budget. "If the cuts that need to be made become evident during the school year, we'll mark them up for next year."

Especially if the county loses a revaluation lawsuit to Dougherty County taxpayers, which means the school system would have to pay back $3.7 million in property taxes. Employees haven't officially been notified of the freeze in supplement pay. They'll get letters next week.

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