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Friday, April 16, 2010

Fulton County school board to consider raising millage rate.

By Gracie Bonds Staples
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Fulton county residents soon may get the additional tax some of them have been asking for. It just might not bring the parents' desired result of saving a music program.

Superintendent Cindy Loe recommended to the school board at its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday that the millage rate be raised by one mill.

The increase, one of several recommendations the superintendent made to shore up the system's 120 million budget shortfall, would bring in an additional $28 million in revenue, Loe said.

“You have been great stewards of taxpayer money by rolling back the millage in earlier years,” Loe said. “But now as property values are declining, we need to address millage.”

The board will consider Loe’s newest recommendations at its next meeting on April 22 at Dunwoody Springs Charter Elementary School.

Some parents, upset over the elimination of the district’s popular elementary band and orchestra program, have been advocating raising the millage rate for weeks as a way to either reinstate the program or, as a compromise, provide a fifth-grade-only program.

But the school district is moving ahead with its plan to convert the elementary school band program into a fee-based after-school program and has asked local contractors to submit proposals to run it. Contractors have until April 22 to submit proposals.

Loe has said the district had little choice in cutting the band program because it operates solely on local funds.

Still parents have pledged to continue their fight to keep the program. They said they will again make their case to the board on April 22.

Only one parent, Jacquette Quashie, addressed Thursday’s meeting but her comments had nothing to do with music. Quashie, president of the PTSA at Langston Hughes High School in Fairburn, said that under the proposed budget cuts the county would lose 27 of its counselors.

“That’s unacceptable. Counselors are the glue,” she said. “They hold the key to student progress, especially at the high school level.”

On Thursday, the superintendent also recommended, among other things, cutting central office operating costs by 10 percent, requiring all employees to take three furlough days, and stopping door-to-door transportation for magnet students.

“They will have to get to their home schools and ride the bus from there with other students,” Loe said.

School districts across metro Atlanta are facing huge budget deficits. Most have decided so far to take similar steps, from trimming staff, to furloughing teachers, cutting community education and increasing class sizes. Fulton, which is furthest along in the budget process, is the first to approve cost-cutting items like increasing class size, eliminating the summer CRCT retake program and reducing the school calendar from 180 to 177 days.

Board member Katie Reeves stressed early in the meeting that none of the districts has spent its system into the ground.

“Every school system is required to have a balanced budget every year by Georgia law,” she said. “We are simply trying to bridge the gap between our expected revenues and expenses.”

The Fulton board over the past two months has voted to accept Loe’s recommendation to cut 1,000 positions, including 500 teachers, many of whom may in the end keep their jobs as the reductions come through attrition.

The system is proposing a 2011 budget that is about $120 million less than the 2010 budget -- from $857 million to $737 million.

In other business, Loe recommended the board reject applications for nearly a half dozen start-up charters, including those for Chattahoochee Hills and Young Leaders Collegiate Academy.

Loe also commended the Northview High School chamber orchestra for its performance recently at the National School Boards Association conference in Chicago. The orchestra was chosen from about 100 other ensembles for the honor of performing during the conference’s April 10 opening session.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes property rates have declined, and properties today are worth 30% or more of what they were previously. Many owe more on their property then it was worth 2 years ago. So you want to increase our taxes??? What are you drinking, the Obama Kool Aide? Keep on sticking it to upper and middle class, while the rest of the country gets it for free!

Anonymous said...

Is the only solution in this country to mismanagement of tax payer money on all levels, and government overspending on gov. programs and earmarks, to tax the people even more?!

Why do the American People keep taking it from our Government?? Wasn't the entire reason from breaking away from England, over Taxation and Government control people?? Get up off your rear ends and defend your nation with yoru voices before it's not there anymore. Do you want to solve the nations issues with your vote, or end up having to do what our ancestors did to give us this great country.!!!!??

No to increasing the millage rate! Hell NO! Find another solution and stop increasing our taxes for the solution!!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of taxes, gas is $3.03 at the Shell station at B-ham crossroads. The news says they want to slap a .15 cent tax on every gallon of gas nationally, here we go again. Why do we have to wait until it hits the $4.00 mark before getting angry about this?? Remember the lines last summer, running out of gas at the pumps, people freaing out? How quickly we forget? Gas is going to go up, it's creeping up now, and no one is saying a word about it. That shell station is higher .10 to.30 cents more than most pumps around Winward, Milton should boycott his station and force him to come down on his price, it's ridiculous!!

Anonymous said...

To Tim Enloe:
I am in total agreement with 5:45AM.

However doesn't this meet the criteria used in Olde Blind Dog Cruise In deletions.

Anonymous said...

No it is not the same. The comments are relevent to taxes. It is his website and he can determine what is appropriate or not. Don't like it, too bad. Go blog somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Since it is his web site, let him answer the question.

Anonymous said...

He can and he does. And he can remove my blog as well if he chooses. Sucks when you are censored and can't attack people anonymously doesn't it? Wahh.

Tim Enloe said...

All:

The discussion here is related to taxes. Taxes ie "millage" is the article.

Enough said.

Tim Enloe
Accessmilton.com
770 653 0552

Anonymous said...

Since a boycott was suggested, I filled up at this station. While there I asked the operator how much was the millage rate on his gasoline. He said he couldn't answer such a question and suggested I contact Mr Enloe and FCBOE for the answer.

Operator was so nice, think I'll use this station every chance I get.