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DeKalb Schools Change Course on Layoffs

The board Monday failed to follow through with a budget plan to layoff 250 teachers and save the district $20 million this year.

The Dekalb school board didn't follow through on the layoff of 250 teachers, leaving the district's budget in a $20 million limbo, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

It's not clear exactly what the board's switch could mean for the school budget. The district by law has to have a balanced budget, according to the report.

The board has asked Superinetendent Cheryl Atkinson to look for other savings in the budget, however, the $20 million in teacher salaries was the biggest line item in a budget that included nearly $80 million in cuts.

Nancy Jester, Dunwoody representative, sided with the majority in a 5-2 vote to cancel the layoffs. Board members Jay Cunningham and Tom Bowen voted for proceeding with the budget as planned.

Bowen's District 6 includes the following schools: Stephenson and Stone Mountain high schools; Freedom, Stephenson and Stone Mountain middle schools; Hambrick, Eldridge L. Miller, Pine Ridge, Redan, Rock Chapel, Rockbridge, Shadow Rock, Stone Mill and Stone Mountain elementary schools as well as Wynbrooke Theme School.

The goal to reduce teachers and paraprofessionals in the district was expected to by met by attrition and retirements. That didn't happen at the rate that was expected.

The board was also hampered by a budget proposal that was passed late into June. Teachers that could be laid off already have contracts from the district and are preparing to go to work.

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