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Clayton BOE to meet twice on Monday
Will vote on budget, discuss AYP

By Curt Yeomans

The Clayton County Board of Education will vote on Monday to approve a proposed $574.7 million budget for the school system, and to possibly raise the millage rate to the maximum allowed under state law. The vote will come during one of two school board meetings set for that day.

At 6 p.m., board members will hold a called meeting to vote on the fiscal year 2010 budget and a proposed millage rate increase. Then, at 6:30 p.m., the board will hold its June work session to hear updates on several items, ranging from which schools made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) last year, to the possibility of adopting a uniform-dress policy for the county's high schools.

Both meetings will take place at the Clayton County Public Schools Central Administration Complex, located at 1058 Fifth Ave., in Jonesboro.

School Board Chairperson Alieka Anderson said no changes have been made to the proposed budget since it was released earlier this month.

That budget proposal sparked the ire of some teachers, because it calls for the school system to reduce the local supplement for teachers' salaries, even though teachers will receive salary-step increases from the state.

The local-supplement reduction means teachers will make the same salaries during the 2009-10 school year that they earned during the 2008-09 school year.

There will also be a reduction in force that will eliminate 14 administrative positions; 109 paraprofessionals, and six secretaries. The district's 240-day employees, which includes central office and school-level administrators and staff, will receive a 1.5 percent salary cut, and a 10-day reduction in the work year.

"With the trying times that we're in, we're going to have to make some cuts," Anderson said. "Every school system is having to cut back right now. It's not just us."

At the same time, the school board will vote on tentative adoption of a proposed millage rate increase, from 19.836 mills, to the maximum 20 mills allowed for local under state law.

Clayton County Schools Interim Superintendent Valya Lee could not be reached for comment.

The board will also turn its attention toward academics at the work session. In addition to hearing a regular update on progress toward getting off probation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), it will also find out how many schools are expected to achieve AYP status this year.

Schools that consistently fail to meet AYP standards face punishments from the Georgia Department of Education that increase in severity for every year the school does not meet the standards. Punishments range from being required to develop a school improvement plan, to offering school choice to parents, to restructuring the administrative and teaching staffs of the school.

The projections provided to the school board on Monday will be based, in part, on the district's preliminary Criterion-Referenced Competency Test and Georgia High School Graduation Test data.

Other items on the agenda for the work session include: review of monthly purchasing; personnel changes; financial and Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax reports; a discussion on uniform dress in the nine high schools; initiation of the naming process for the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school that is under construction, and the approval of student and employee tribunal panel members.