Cobb School’s $856 million budget includes some cuts and time off
by Lindsay Field
May 17, 2013 12:21 AM | 11032 views | 23 23 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print

After four budget recommendations and more than two hours of debate between Cobb School Board members, they approved a final $856.3 million budget that included five furlough days, and giving employees a half-step increase salary raise next year. They also approved cutting 182 teaching positions, which will be eliminated through retirements and resignations.

The board also got an earful from 16 speakers during public comments who addressed the board over their support or opposition to purchase $7.5 million in Common Core-aligned math resources that was voted down last month and the need for Common Core Standards.

The fiscal 2014 budget was approved 4-3, with members Kathleen Angelucci, Tim Stultz and David Morgan opposing.

The other three budgets turned down were presented by Stultz, Angelucci and David Banks.

Stultz’s budget included the reduction of one of the five furlough days, increasing the cuts to teacher and administrative positions, and spending $250,000 on an external audit.

He stated many times during the meeting that he was trying to look out for the district’s future so that they aren’t coming back again next year trying to resolve the same budget woes with the same cuts.

Angelucci recommended the board give employees their full step increase and bring back Project 2400, which prepares students for the SAT.

A step increase is a raise based on approximately 1 percent of an employee’s salary.

Three teachers addressed the board during the salary hearing asking members to find cuts in other areas and preserve their salary step and pay cuts due to furlough days.

“I challenge you … pursue any other options that are within your means,” said Walton High School teacher Matthew Staruch. “The teachers of Cobb County deserve better and the students of Cobb County deserve better.”

Banks’ budget would hire 200 half-day teachers in all and reinstate Project 2400 as well.

Another motion made by Angelucci was to delay the vote to a later date but that was voted down.

“In light of our speakers here tonight … and other proposals I think the board needs more time,” she pleaded.

She was supported by Banks and Stultz.

Common Core

In other news, the board also heard from more than 15 speakers, 11 of whom begged the board to reconsider the purchase of math materials aligned with Common Core Standards, and five who pleaded that the board not go down that path.

Georgia Schools Superintendent John Barge describes Common Core as ensuring that the algebra taught in Georgia is the same Algebra taught in New York or Kansas. But critics worry that Common Core has been hijacked by President Barack Obama’s Administration and will lead to the federalization of education and a loss of local control.

“We need our math textbooks,” said Cobb Schools teacher Brian Lewis who sat on the math adoption committee that researched purchasing proposed math materials for the district.

“I’m asking you to separate your political anxieties from the educational needs of our students,” said another teacher, Stephanie Santoro.

“Don’t politicize math or our education,” agreed Cobb Schools parent John Salinas.

Another teacher, Farrah Gamel, said she was there to speak on behalf of her students because the textbooks are a guide and source of help for them if they don’t have her around or have access to the Internet.

“They very much need the resources,” she said. “We are here to educate the whole child … we are at the point where enough is enough. You’re asking us to keep the highest standards and you’re asking us to do it with less class time, more students in our classrooms and for less pay.”

Another Cobb teacher, John Kilpatrick, told the board that it should be able to revote on the math resource purchase because in years past the board has voted more than once on the school calendar.

Not everyone was on board with these teachers and parents’ pleas though.

“We need to get rid of Common Core,” said Cobb Schools parent Patricia Hay. “It’s already wrecking health care. We need to fight Common Core because we are losing local control.”

Susan Stanton, the grandparent of a Cobb Schools student, said she’s had the opportunity to review the materials and believes it will make students fall back two grades.

“I have some major concerns,” she said. “If the aim of Common Core is aimed to raise the standards of students, we are going in the wrong direction … please review these materials before confining our children to a sub-standard education in the name of expediency.”

Mary Ware said she thinks Georgia should follow in the footsteps of other states who are backing out of Common Core.

“I agree that students need books … but there are other alternatives, and I would rather not make the critical mistake now of spending so much money now when we can do something better when we have the time to review it a little further,” she said.

The last speaker was Tammy Slaten, a Cobb Schools parent, who argued that there is no evidence that Common Core can help students get jobs and get into college.

“We need to focus on the quality of education and do it together,” she said.

After the meeting, Cobb Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said he doesn’t plan to bring the vote on the math materials back up for another consideration of approval because the board has already voted on it.

Board Chair Randy Scamihorn said he had not thought about whether he will bring back the vote for reconsideration because he is more focused on the budget but it. could come back up for discussion in June.


Comments-icon Post a Comment
Grass isn't greener
May 17, 2013
Furlough days, attrition, no raises ......well it must be Sanderson and Constantino's fault,right? Bunch of knuckleheads in this county
May 17, 2013
Another thrill, thank you Gov Deal, Mr.Walrus and the CSB.

May 17, 2013
Memo to Cobb County school board:

Gov. Deal yesterday signed an executive order making the Common Core standards illegal in Georgia.

Vote for those books at your own legal peril.
May 17, 2013
You're wrong...

Deal craftily proclaimed that;

"That no educational standards shall be imposed on Georgia by the federal government."

Georgia's State Board of Education adopted the Common Core Curriculum developed by states and through their governors.

Deal went on to proclaim "That all decisions regarding curriculum and instruction shall be made at the local level."

You'll notice that he left "standards" out of his proclamation. "Decisions" regarding curriculum and instruction were and remain local - no change.

The only thing of substance in his proclamation is the prohibition of data sharing.zautesa 12.4
Dr Teresa
May 17, 2013
What? Did you read the headlines only? Deal created a soundbite to try to get the heat off of himself. You are proof that his method worked. Keep playing the fool and you will continue to get NO HELP from the gold dome. Those fools will keep getting re-elected by you and others like you. THERE NEEDS TO BE A TAXPAYER REVOLT IN COBB, NOT TO THE SCHOOL BOARD BUT TO THE GOLD DOME!!!!!!QBE now allows $65 million of Cobb's tax dollars to go to Gwinnett County. Where is your outrage over that?????????
May 17, 2013
Are the school board members also taking a pay cut and unpaid furlough days? If not, shame on them.
least considered
May 17, 2013
Thanks to Angelucci and Banks for championing the

least considered during the budget process; that

being the teachers, students, and academic progress.
Papermill gal
May 17, 2013
Educrats at CCSD, for some strange reason, put all their eggs in the Common Core basket and now have no other math curriculum to fall back on, apparently. Well, now it's time to do their homework and earn their money and find something OTHER THAN Common Core to adopt. Certainly competition and other math curricula still exist in today's America? Or has Barrack Obama completely taken over every aspect of our lives in just a few years? Get to work, Hinojosa and curriculum dept., and earn those large government, taxpayer-funded paychecks. Find us another alternative to Common Core!
@Papermill Gal
May 17, 2013
Papermill Gal- You are aware, aren't you, that CCSD is required to follow the state mandated curriculum? Individual school systems might have some leeway about when topics are taught and how standards are grouped, but they must all follow the state curriculum. In Georgia, that is the Common Core. All the board is doing is not adopting materials that match the mandated curriculum, forcing teachers to create or find their own resources. They aren't stopping anything, they are just making it more difficult for teachers to teach.

@ Papermill gal
May 17, 2013
It's time to step away from the bar...

Georgia adopted Common Core.

The school district did not.

Will students' math CRCT and End-of-Course Tests be aligned with Common Core? - - - YES
Dr. Teresa
May 17, 2013
To answer your question, through Common Core Obama HAS taken over the education of our children. There ARE no other materials available because textbook publishers publish what is decided in the the states with the largest student poplulations: New York, California, and Texas. Other states have NEVER had a choice of something different from what these states select and they never will. Wake up and educate yourself before you call the School Board stupid.
school trouble
May 17, 2013
Nothing I have read lately gives me any hope that education in this state, or indeed, in the nation, is improving. Sounds like we are in for another spell of "dumbing down" to make ourselves look good. This is so wrong. Its going to be "goodbye, good teachers" and then what?? Oh, I forgot, there is Common Core, probably hatched in some politicians basement lab, to cure all of our problems with education! Boy, just love Big Government!
Furlough days
May 17, 2013
What furlough days were voted on?
Lindsay Field
May 17, 2013
The vote was taken around 11 p.m. Thursday and after my story was submitted for press, so I apologize for not including it in this article. The board approved the "Option B" calendar after a rescinded vote from David Banks. The furlough days will be recognized Oct. 3-4, 2013; Feb. 13-14, 2014; and Feb. 18, 2014.
Bring in the Clowns
May 17, 2013
What a bunch of clowns, who in their right mind would work for these fools.
May 17, 2013
This is an insult to teachers who keep seeing their worth as professionals being devalued year after year. Their work load keeps increasing and their compensation keeps dropping. This budget represents another sad day for education and educators. I cannot imagine anyone wanting to make this a career choice anymore.
May 17, 2013
I edited your paragraph. "The economy for the last several years has insulted millions of people who keep seeing their worth as professionals being devalued year after year. Their work load keeps increasing and their compensation keeps dropping. All company and government budgets are a sad day for America, but all must bear the burden of the horrible economy and tighten belts. I cannot imagine anyone wanting this to happen, but it is and has happened to the majority of American households, no matter what profession you are in."
May 18, 2013
Stop it. Teachers are not the only ones being insulted and you have singled out as seeing their worth as professionals being devalued every year and their work load keeps increasing and their compensation keeps dropping. This budget represents a sad day when the field of education does not realize they are not above the rest of the nation and that they, as educators, need to also bear the brunt of the recession that the rest of the nation has felt. I have to add this as a side note that all you brilliant educators in Georgia are doing something wrong in that you are not doing the job you are hired to do, in that Georgia is a laughing stock in terms of education. I cannot imagine anyone wanting to make a career choice based on the potential income of yester-year. This is today-year. I say get rid of government pensions just as almost all pensions have been erased except for government ones. Billions saved. Multi-mega-billions swooped in one fell. Let the paragraph police begin.
May 17, 2013
Stultz, Angelucci and David Banks.

Thank you for representing, Teachers and Students.
Fed Up With Stultz
May 17, 2013
Please do not assume that any teachers who were present and listened to the board members last night or that pay attention on a daily basis believe, in any way shape or form, that Stultz has our backs. His budget proposals called for more teacher cuts than what was actually voted upon and accepted. He would like to see over a thousand teachers replaced with virtual classrooms.

And for those who did watch the board meeting, I cannot believe that no one is commenting on Stultz's demeaning, unprofessional request that anyone who would like a millage rate increase discussion should call (770)... and make a donation to the Cobb County Tax Accessor. We are not stupid. We know it would not be popular. By at least having a discussion the board would show us that they are truly dedicated to making the permanent changes we need so that we do not have to continually put a band-aid over the wound of Cobb County Education each and every spring by furloughing employees and not bringing back positions of those who retire or leave the county. Stultz has nothing to offer for long term change. Not voting for the accepted budget in no way makes him pro-teacher. In fact, he is probably the most anti-teacher board member.
@Fed Up With Stultz
May 22, 2013
I agree! I thought that was an obnoxious bit of grandstanding on his part. I would like to invite him to return his board salary if he feels that strongly about not taking money out of people's wallets - to literally put his money where his mouth is and lead by example.
Matt Staruch
May 17, 2013
To summarize the events of the night, Cobb teachers fought hard to make the Board listen to reason, but the Board members either don't believe the teachers of Cobb know what is in the best interest of their students or don't care about what is in the best interest of Cobb students.
May 17, 2013
I see it differently. You say you believe (1) the Board members don't believe teachers of Cobb know what is in the best interests of their students OR (2) the Board does not care what is in the best interest of Cobb students. My opinion is that (1) teachers don't know what is in the best interest of their students and all they care about is money, money, and more money. For heaven's sake, this is a half a year job. That is ALL they work. Half a year. 6 months. Hear me? They work 6 months out of a year. What about firemen, policemen, road workers, etc. that are paid by the government that work 24x7x365? And I don't hear one ounce of concern out here about making schools better. All I hear is complain, complain, complain about hours and money. What do they want next? To work 4 hours a day out of those 6 months they do work? They act like they are the ONLY ONES in the entire nation whose health insurance has gone up, pay has gone down, etc. Hey, my pension plan got cut out. Why should government workers still get a pension plan?
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