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School activity fee likely to be repealed

‘Excellent news, but we’re not where we need to be yet’

— Clayton County schools superintendent Edmond Heatley may be on his way to California, but he’s leaving students a gift — no more activity fee.

Based on fiscal-year-end tallies made in late summer, school officials discovered they had finished far enough under their projected budget to be able to kill the unpopular fee. Repealing the fee was proposed at the school board’s Aug. 27 work session and will probably be approved at its meeting next Monday.

Students who’ve already paid the fee — charged for the first time this year for sports, cheerleading and band — will have their money refunded if the board approves its repeal, said schools spokesman David Waller.

“I would credit Dr. Heatley and Dr. [Deputy Superintendent Stefanie] Phillips,” said Lonita Collier, director of business services. “We’ve had a lot of changes in the district, but they’ve been on top of the finances.”

Collier said the district finished about $15 million ahead of its projections for the 2012 fiscal year thanks to increased state funding because of increased enrollment, along with more money than anticipated from local property taxes. Both increases were due to the district regaining its accreditation, she said.

Another unexpected gift was tax revenue generated by the new international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which opened in May.

Collier couldn’t say exactly how much the new terminal kicked into Clayton’s coffers, but “it was definitely enough that we noticed.”

Staff reductions, unfilled vacant positions and a cap on pay raises also helped considerably, Collier said.

“All of our employees are doing more with less,” said Collier, who praised system employees and the board for tightening their belts.

The next step is to build a contingency fund to provide a cushion against possible future shortfalls, she added.

“This is excellent news, but we’re not where we need to be yet,” Collier said.

Comments

james171 2 years ago

One thing you can always count on is that Heatley will take the credit for anything good that has happened or will happened in Clayton County. He is more confident in his ability to be a school superintendent and make reasonable decisions much more than those who have worked with him. Heatley needs to take his immense talent to California, sooner rather than later!

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OscarKnight 2 years ago

..The tax revenue from the airport is one of our freebies....However; Those that lives closer to the airport is plagued with the constant, aircraft flying over our homes, vibration of our window panes, and not to mention the air quality .

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