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Recap: DeKalb School Board Tables Budget Vote

The DeKalb County board of education will wait until next week to finalize the district budget

DeKalb school officials tabled a much-anticipated vote on the school budget Monday upon news that the district is facing an even deeper deficit.

Instead of a $73-million gap, the district will have to cover an $85-million hole. 

The news came from district financial officials who explained that the county's property tax digest will be 9 percent lower than last year - not the expected 6 percent drop.

The board decided against discussing any of the proposed cuts that include cutting middle school athletic programs, shutting down the Fernbank Science Center, expanding class sizes by two students district-wide, reducing employee benefits and cancelling transportation to magnet schools.

The board is tentatively scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 20, to finalize the budget. 

A major new development Monday was the fate of the Fernbank Science Center.

The center was pulled off the chopping block last month; Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson put Fernbank back on the table Monday. Atkinson suggested $3.2 million in cuts to programs and resources at the center. Fernbank has a $4.7 million operating budget.

The board also discussed deadlines for when the budget needs to be finalized and approved. The spending plan is required by July 1, but could be stretched past that date in an emergency, district officials said.

Atkinson cautioned the board that delaying budget decisions could handicap teachers and other staff who are ultimately let go from getting new positions in other school systems.

Recap our live coverage by clicking the play button above. Feel free to ask questions or share your opinion in the comments section.

Readers, if you can't see the live blog because you're reading Patch on a smartphone or other mobile device, you can follow the conversation at this RSS feed.

Lynn June 12, 2012 at 02:05 PM
I believe someone asked this last night during the live blog, but I didn't see a reply. Has there been any discussion of a buyout of teachers with over a certain number (30, 35) of years of service? I'm new to education in GA, but have seen it help in my previous districts. MrMatt and lastminutemom - I appreciate your comments.
Jason Massad June 12, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Lynn, Jason Massad. We're gathering some information from the district this week. Pre-K is one of the issues on the list, as well as magnet allotments. Send me an e-mail at jason.massad@patch.com. and we can talk about your questions.
Ms. June 12, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Gov. Deal- The Superintendent nor the board have the skills or experience to handle this amount of money, and deficit this massive. Assemble an oversight panel to do what none of these people seem to be capable of doing, straighten this mess out. It will require more than what they want to do, shift people around and change titles, but it can be done. This crisis is approaching the point of no return.
Tom June 12, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Hey Pretty Flower, Your bloom has wilted and you smell like... Rader and eliis are lying thieves.
Lost in Space June 21, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Having been in the schools for years, the impact that FSC has on the vast majority of students does not justify its cost.

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