DCSS Board members approve $120M budget - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

DCSS Board members approve $120M budget

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The Dougherty County School System will be without the drop back in academy next year, but the Albany Early College survived.   The two primary concerns brought up during the public hearings were the phasing out of Albany Early College and cutting the drop back in program.     

Levi Williams, the director of the Drop Back In Academy, had his head down as board members voted to do away with that program.  

"I think that we've got other programs in our system that can meet the needs of students who have dropped out. If money drops out of the sky at some point then maybe we could look at that again," said board chairperson Carol Tharin.     

Cutting the program saves the system $750,000.  But the vote to approve the $120 million budget for fiscal year 2015 was not unanimous. Reverend James Bush and Velvet Riggins voted against it.

  "I'm still hoping and praying that it's not cut. This budget can be amended. We can do another opportunity to add it back into the budget," said Riggins.    

The two year old program helped high school dropouts, ages 16 to 21, get back in school and earn their diplomas. But many board members are confident other programs exist that will take its place.  

"I believe we're going to have a comparative type program that we're going to start at Monroe that's going to fill that void," said board member Darrel Ealum.       

The budget also includes changes to Albany Early College. While it will survive, board members voted to move it from Albany State University to Albany High School. It will also now serve 9th through 12th graders, eliminating 7th and 8th grade.    

"We'll proceed with that and hope that it's something that will be sustainable down the road. But I think at some point in time it may have to be looked at again," said Tharin.    

All tough decisions, which helped fill an $8.3 million budget gap. 

The budget also includes two furlough days for teachers, an improvement from four furlough days this year.

After the vote on the budget, board member Darrel Ealum made a motion to add a 3% cost of living adjustment for non-management workers, like lunch room staff and custodians.

 

"They haven't had a cost of living adjustment, a raise in about six years. Our teachers, they did receive a small raise because we gave them back two furlough days. But that didn't effect our workers. Our healthcare costs are going to go up for these workers that I'm speaking of. And if we don't give them a cost of living raise, they're literally going to be taking a pay cut."

 

The board asked the finance committee to review the request.  It would cost the system $150,000.

 

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