Board sends contracts, accepts budget

By Greg Gelpi

Assistant principals, principals and other school officials will be receiving their contracts later this week.

The Clayton County Board of Education approved Superintendent Barbara Pulliam's "re-election" of the administrators at its regular business meeting Monday.

The school board also approved Pulliam's recommendations for administrative positions. The board approved Dan Ray to be the director of classified personnel, Velma Mobley to be the principal of Elementary School No. 9 and Derrick Williams to be the principal of Jonesboro High School.

Pulliam decided not to make recommendations for principal of Kemp Primary School, director of certified personnel or coordinator of public affairs and community relations, pulling them from the agenda.

Ray is the principal of Kendrick Elementary School. Mobley is the assistant principal of West Clayton Elementary School. Williams is the assistant principal of John Hope College Prep in Chicago.

The board also approved the tentative general fund budget for fiscal year 2005.

Following an option the board approved in March as a guideline for bringing the school system closer to its goal of a balanced budget, the board approved a tentative budget of about $308 million in expenses and $303 million in revenue.

The school board held a public hearing prior to its regular board meeting. Kevin Sanders, a local banker, was the only member of the public to speak at the hearing.

"Please support the cuts and maintain the course," Sanders said. "Just because additional funds have been located doesn't mean they must be spent."

The school board approved $16 million in cuts to its budget in March in reaction to anticipated reductions in state funding. The state gave the school system about $5 million more than it had anticipated when the state approved its budget.

The additional funding will be placed in a "rainy day" account, according to the tentative budget.

"We knew going in that we were going to have to make cuts and we wanted to minimize the impact of the cuts to the classroom, and I feel we did that," Chief Financial Officer Lee Davis said.

The tentative budget makes $700 in additional funding available to each board member for board development.

Board policy, though, caps board development and travel at $2,500. Board attorney Gary Sams said the budget doesn't violate the policy by providing funding in case the board changes its policy.

"I believe the budget is legal as it stands and not violation of policy," Sams said. "Passing the budget does nothing to modify policy."

The school board must adopt a final budget by June 30 according to state law, and there must be a two-week period between the adoption of a tentative budget and the adoption of the final budget.

The board is scheduled to hold a second public hearing on the budget at 6:30 p.m. June 21 and to vote on the budget at 7 that night.

In other business, the school board named Elementary School No. 9 "Thurgood Marshall Elementary School" and Middle School No. 5 "Sequoyah Middle School."