Clayton schools seek
surplus funding to offset cuts

By Curt Yeomans


The Clayton County Board of Education will be asked today to increase its allocation of surplus dollars to provide needed funding during the remainder of this fiscal year, ending in June.

In October, the board used roughly $8 million of its undesignated $19.9 million to offset state austerity cuts, support special-education programs, settle litigation, and create the positions of director of internal audits, and purchasing card administrator.

Now, officials are bracing for the move of car rental agencies at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Fulton County. The move will cost the district an estimated $5 million in local tax revenues.

At Saturday's called school board meeting, Chief Financial Officer Roger Reese and General Counsel Julie Lewis are scheduled to ask the board to approve adding projects to the school district's wish list, according to district spokesman Charles White.

White said he could not specify what additions would be requested.

Lewis, along with Board Chairperson Alieka Anderson, could not be reached for comment.

The board's meeting will begin at 8 a.m., in the Professional Learning Center, located at 1087 Battle Creek Road, in Jonesboro.

The surplus funds come from the fiscal year 2009 budget. Three and a half months into the fiscal year, district officials determined higher tax revenues meant there would be more money left over at the end of the year. The request to designate more of those funds comes while the school system is beginning work on its fiscal year 2010 budget.

Also, at the called meeting Saturday, board members will offer nominees for the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee. The committee acts as the public's voice during the process of drafting a budget. It reviews budget proposals, and offers feedback to the district's finance department.

As the budget process begins for the next fiscal year, the school system is looking to offset a host of funding reductions. In addition to the loss of the car rental agencies, there will be an estimated $6 million state austerity cut, and a loss of, at least, $16.3 million in state per-pupil funding.

The reduced per-pupil funding is the result of student flight from the school system in the wake of the district's loss of accreditation.

The school system is also looking at several options to cut costs in the next fiscal year, including implementing of more-efficient transportation and maintenance operations, a reduction in staff, reducing benefits for part-time employees, overtime payments and travel budgets, and changing the work year for 12-month, administrative employees.