School board to discuss furlough day, resignation
by Lindsay Field
September 26, 2012 01:01 AM | 5531 views | 8 8 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dr. Michael Hinojosa<br>Staff/file
Dr. Michael Hinojosa
MARIETTA – Despite having a little resistance from board members about giving back a furlough day to teachers for the 2012-13 school year, Cobb Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa said he hasn’t changed his mind about the recommendation.

“I understand the board members’ hesitation about making sure we maintain our fund balance, but I feel comfortable with the recommendation,” Hinojosa said Tuesday.

The board will also consider Allatoona High School Principal Scott Bursmith’s request to withdraw his earlier resignation and approve new principals for Green Acres Elementary School and Sprayberry High School.

During the Sept. 12 work session, board member Tim Stultz, who represents southeast Cobb, said he would not support giving teachers back a furlough day on May 30. It would cost the district about $3 million to do this.

“With the district facing at least a $60 million deficit next year that may result in staff layoffs, I can’t support the furlough reduction when that money should be used to help save jobs,” he said Tuesday.

Alison Bartlett, who represents west-central Cobb, said she hasn’t decided how she will vote on the recommendation but would prefer the district give teachers a pay adjustment, or bonus, rather than return the furlough day.

“I would prefer to do that instead of having teachers report one extra day at the end of the school year,” she said.

Bartlett has also said she’d like to wait until January or February 2013 to see if the state will implement any mid-year cuts like they did in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

At the work session, Board Chair Scott Sweeney said the bonus would be about $200 per educator.

Hinojosa said Bartlett and Stultz’ concerns haven’t deterred his recommendation though, especially after speaking to members of various teacher groups and his advisory committees.

“They are all supportive of my recommendation and I have not heard back from anybody who is against reinstating the furlough day, so it’s been all positive so far,” he said.

The furlough day reduction will be paid for out of the district’s Fund Balance, which the district estimates stands at around $10 million due to a surplus from FY2012. An official audit will not be complete until later this fall.

“With $10 million in surplus, we need to use the funds to give back to the employees,” Hinojosa said.

The board approved three furlough days during their FY2013 budget discussions in May. It was part of the district’s plan to reduce the to $62 million deficit.

During the board’s discussion about personnel, they will consider rescinding a letter of resignation from Allatoona High’s Bursmith and approve the appointments of principals at Green Acres Elementary School in Smyrna and Sprayberry High School in Marietta.

The board unanimously approved Bursmith’s resignation, which would have been effective Dec. 1, in July.

At that time, Hinojosa said he was “surprised” by the request for resignation, specifically because it was uncommon for an educator to leave a district in the middle of the year.

However, on Tuesday he was pleased with the fact that Bursmith is not retiring.

“He is certainly a very good principal and we have trouble finding high school principals so we’re glad he’s rescinded his resignation,” Hinojosa said.

Bursmith said he has been an educator for 34 years and with Cobb Schools as the principal at Allatoona for six years, including this year.

He has 33 years of retirement eligible service since he was at a private school for one year.

“My decision not to retire was simply for economic reasons,” he said Tuesday. “A person with 33 years of service will get 66 percent of their salary. After I ran the numbers with Georgia Teacher Retirement I decided that I would take too large of a cut to retire now. My plans are to work this year plus one more which will give me 35 years of service, and a retirement benefit of 70 percent of my salary, a more manageable number.

“I love what I do and Allatoona is a great school so I really look forward to being here this year and next.”

Green Acres’ former principal Mike Bivens, who was the school’s chief for five years, was moved to Lindley Middle School in Mableton in August. The elementary school’s assistant principal, Angela Kay White, has been serving as the interim principal in the meantime.

Ed Wagner was the principal at Sprayberry and was moved in mid-July to Kell High School shortly after their principal Trudie Donovan retired and was later arrested on misdemeanor charges for failure to report child abuse within 24 hours.

Retired Cobb administrator Dr. Hilda Wilkins has been serving as the interim principal.

The district has not released the names of the individuals they have considered appointing to these positions.

The board was also supposed to consider approving a new benefits contract for Cobb Schools employees but Hinojosa said the item has been pulled from the agenda. He said the district would probably submit a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the contract and bring that back before the board for consideration in October.

In other business, the board will also consider approving:

* A $900,000 contract with LMI Systems to purchase and install a security camera and surveillance system. The contract would run between Oct. 1 and Sept. 30, 2013, and be funded by SPLOST III.

* A $300,000 contract for nursing services for “medically fragile students.” According to the agenda, the Request for Proposal was originally awarded in June 2010 and the service will provide help for students who exhibit “sporadic” attendance because of their individual health conditions.

This contract will run between Oct. 1 and Sept. 30, 2013.

* A $237,250 contract for residential placement of a student to receive a Fair and Appropriate Public Education. According to the agenda, the student requires help around the clock.

* A new name for the newly constructed Smyrna Elementary School off Fleming Street in Smyrna. The board will choose between Jonquil Elementary, Marion Worley Mitchell Elementary or Smyrna Elementary. The name selection committee has recommended the board name the school Smyrna Elementary School.

* A Memorandum of Approval between Cobb County Schools, the Georgia Department of Education and Brumby, Hayes, Riverside Intermediate and Sanders elementary and East Cobb Middle schools, which were identified by the state as “focus schools” last spring.

There is no cost associated with the contract and this will allot each school to “receive additional support from the state through the Metro Regional Educational Service Area as well as the local school district,” according to the agenda.

The board meeting, which is open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. with public comments and is held in the school district’s boardroom at 540 Glover St. in Marietta.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
September 27, 2012
Can someone explain the $237k on 1 kid? Fair and Appropiate?
Still Interesting
September 26, 2012
Okay, it is still interesting to me how the "Schools on Fire" that were questionably selected to have intervention teams at their schools are still not the schools on the state list of "focus schools" - Something smells real bad. What was REAL criteria for Cobb to select the 4 schools in Mableton, GA only? Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmmmm
Focus Schools
September 27, 2012
I agree, why aren't schools like Lassiter, Pope, Lovingood, Teasley etc. on the list!

Makes you go hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

or not
Just Sayin...
September 26, 2012
So the super says "“......and we have trouble finding high school principals..........,” Hinojosa said. What a funny thing for him to say when the county has run off a whole bunch of principals that were more than good - they were hardworking and fair to all.

Name one
September 27, 2012
Who is an example of a principal that was good and run off?
GOP nanny
September 26, 2012
the really scary thing is as an "educator" one would think he would "run the numbers" BEFORE he resigned. this is someone teaching our kids to think and prepare for their future... kinda says lota huh?
September 27, 2012
I guess if he was not bright enough to do the math before he turned in his resignation, what does that say about his ability to lead a school? Let the resignation stand and promote from within the District. I know there must be some capable people here that have not already retired
Retirement Planner
September 26, 2012
So, the Allatoona principal:

first resigns,

THEN looks at how much money he will have to live on when he resigns,

then decides its not enough money to live on

then wants to work an additional minimal amount of time to get more from retirement funds:

“My decision not to retire was simply for economic reasons,” (not because the academic environment, being a change agent, making a difference...)

I hope the board refuses to take him back.

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