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Clayton Schools facing $33 million debt by 2016?

Officials say number a preliminary projection

Clayton County Public School Chief Financial Officer Ken Thompson confirmed Monday the district could face a $33.1 million debt by 2016 if measures aren't taken to address finances.

Clayton County Public School Chief Financial Officer Ken Thompson confirmed Monday the district could face a $33.1 million debt by 2016 if measures aren't taken to address finances.

— Clayton County Public Schools could be $33.1 million in debt by 2016, the district’s top financial official has confirmed to Clayton News Daily.

And, that is despite the fact that the school system is projected to finish its current fiscal year with a $34-million surplus.

District financial projections presented to the school board Monday are still very preliminary, said Chief Financial Officer Ken Thompson. However, he is warning officials to take steps immediately to keep the district’s coffers from running dry.

“We need to be conservative so we won’t have to make drastic cuts later on,” Thompson said.

Although the prediction looks dire, there are several factors which could impact the district’s financial situation over the next three years.

Chief among those factors is shifting revenue numbers.

Thompson, who has only been in his position for five months, said it is still too early to tell whether revenues will improve enough to avoid the possibility of the district operating in the red.

It would appear likely, based on current data which predicts falling property tax revenue, but Thompson said he is awaiting further information from Clayton County Tax Commissioner Terry Baskin.

“We’re still amassing the revenue projections for next year,” Thompson said.

Predicting revenues and expenditures can be tricky. It is not uncommon for actual revenues to be higher than projected, while real expenditures may be lower than projected.

Then again, the revenues could turn out to be lower than expected while expenditures are actually higher.

It is also possible to see some combination of those two scenarios.

Still, the threat of a projected debt could be unsettling for educators who have already undergone at least three years of continuous budget cuts amid repeated projections of deficits.

The latest news was not welcomed by members of the board. The district is projecting deficit spending during the current school year, as well the next three school years.

Overall, the district is projecting expenses for the current year will be $203,190 higher than the $340.8 million in projected revenues. Next year, the district expects to spend $18.5 million more than it earns in revenues. During the 2014-2015 school year, the projected expenses are $24.3 million higher than projected revenues.

The projected expenditures for the 2015-2016 school year are also $24.3 million higher than projected revenues.

“I am not happy that we are still projecting deficit spending,” Adamson said.

During that time, programs have been cut while others have been threatened. Bus service was cut in 2010 to students living within a mile and a half of their schools. Some employees have also seen their jobs eliminated in recent years.

So far, past predictions that the district would slip into debt have not come to fruition. However, some board members were already fretting the possibility of drastic cuts during Thompson’s presentation.

Thompson said nothing is being ruled out as a way to cut costs but he wasn’t ready to commit what will be done immediately to reduce expenses.

However, there are three words some board members dread most — reduction in force.

School board Vice-Chairwoman Mary Baker said she prays the district has passed the point of cutting positions to balance budgets.

“I really hope we can do a better job of figuring this thing out because I don’t want to RIF anyone else,” Baker said.

Comments

OscarKnight 1 year, 10 months ago

.......Cut the the Sports Programs from the schools, this would reduced the amount of students in the county. The Football Programs and Basketball Programs should be discontinued ; I'm speaking as a tax payer and a property owner of this county.

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DE 1 year, 10 months ago

The after school programs and functions, including sports, should be funded solely by those who participate in them, and not the taxpayers.This includes the transportation to and from events. If the participants in these after school programs and activities can't afford the cost out of pocket, then they need to resort to securing private funding or work to earn the money so they can attend. Not only would this relieve the overburdened school coffers, this would teach our young that nothing is free, and if you want something bad enough you will work for it.

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Lynn 1 year, 10 months ago

How about making students pay for the fifth year in high school to graduate? This cost the system millions from my understanding Maybe getting our legislative body to cut their "perks" instead of the education budget? The board better look a everything because another year or two of no pay raises or cost of living after over five years of none and the only thing they will govern is empty desks.

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Robert 1 year, 10 months ago

That would be fine with me. Clayton County could become the first Retirement county for 55 and older residents. We wouldn't need a school system or a school board.

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Robert 1 year, 10 months ago

The school board could put coin machines in the school buses and have the driver's run their routes first thing in morning for the kids then during the day for those that want public transportation, then back for the kids in the afternoon, then back to public transportation in the evening and that way the school could make money and provide public transportation at the same time.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 10 months ago

.....Robert; When I was in transportation, at Fort McPherson, we used buses to take the provide transportation for the school children, and in between, we would also provide transportation for military personal throughout the metro areas of Atlanta.....Good Idea.

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yoyolb 1 year, 10 months ago

I think this is a VERY valid idea!! Hope the "powers that be" actually READ something besides their own paychecks.

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differencemaker 1 year, 10 months ago

It's amazing to me what someone will say who doesn't deal with our youth on a regular basis. I've observed the incomprehensible changes that athletics have made in the lives of countless kids in Clayco. Perhaps if some of us began to become move active within our communities to improve our civic image, instead of standing on our soapbox complaining and reveling in the "good ol' days of Clayton County", then businesses and their families would look to move here and create relationships that would spawn growth and expand revenue bases. I am as fiscally conservative as the next person, but not at the expense of children. And I can afford to talk...I back my words up with my actions, AND my tax dollars daily.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 9 months ago

...defferencemaker : "good ol' days of Clayton County" ?

....It was these "good ol' days" that attracted home buyers to this county; We also had recreational youth sports programs in all areas in this county, These Youth Sports Programs was packed full, with parental participation. These was the days when saggy pants didn't exist among the youth, the homes was owned by civil human beings, The Mall Area was booming, and the people in this county had pride & peace.

.....Back This Up : How can this county rid itself, from these race hustlers ?

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OscarKnight 1 year, 9 months ago

....If people left this county, it was for a reason.......If people quit coming to this county, it was for a reason.......When home values plummeted in this county, before the economical recession, it was for a reason......When businesses began closing, it was for a reason......When the schools has an unbalanced racial mix of students, this, too, has a reason.

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gubment_watcher 1 year, 10 months ago

One way to save money is to park the school buses back out in the community. This will save a lot of money on fuel, matanice and drivers pay. We are weasting a lot of fuel and labor driving buses back and forth to park at transporation. Not to mention the 1.5 million dollars we paid to build a parking lot . School have parking lots that could be used for parking.

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Robert 1 year, 10 months ago

This message was brought to you by modern day public education.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 10 months ago

gubment_watcher; Many counties in Georgia does this, however, have you forgotten what county that we live in ? .....Many police drives their police cars at home, and many have had their firearms stolen from their cars. .....The school buses has batteries, fuel, tires & wheels, catalytic converters, and the buses themselves. This is the reason for the motor pool lots, with fences.

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DE 1 year, 10 months ago

Here's some ideas.

  1. Get the academics and test scores up where people will want to move back into the county because of the schools, not leave because of the disarray in our schools. This would increase the total tax base for the county. Less vacant property equals a higher tax base without raising taxes.

  2. Release the under performing teachers and replace them with more qualified personnel. Let's start getting quality personnel for our tax dollars. As in any business, if you have a employee that doesn't perform to higher standards, you replace them with someone who will.

  3. Hire a Superintendent that is not only an educator, but is qualified to run a business within it's means. Educating our children is a business, and this county needs someone with business intellect to do this job.

    These ideas would bring more tax dollars into our county. These ideas, if implemented, would make this a better county for all. Not only would this attract people back into the county, but also businesses relocating here.

    It's people's nature to embrace success and run from failure. It's time our elected officials stop the mass exodus of businesses and people of this county by starting to do something positive for a change. It's also time for those of us still in this county to start holding our elected officials "Feet to the Fire" and demand more from them. We as taxpayers of Clayton County, need to send a clear message that "Business as Usual" will no longer be tolerated. The "Good Ole Boy" system hasn't worked in the past, and will not be tolerated in the future.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 10 months ago

...DE; Wake Up from your pipe dream........Clayton County will never recover from being the laughing stock of this State....."Wake Up and Smell The Coffee".

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DE 1 year, 10 months ago

That's the problem. I have "Woken up and Smelled the Coffee" and I tired of what I am seeing. It's time others in this county start stepping up to the plate and realize the failures of our elected officials. And then admit not only to themselves, but others that their lack of ability to elect qualified candidates has put this county in the position that it's in now.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 10 months ago

DE : If you are concerned about our Elected Officials, and their failures, speak up about it; Don't be shy :

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OscarKnight 1 year, 9 months ago

...DE : (( "It's people's nature to embrace success and run from failure. It's time our elected officials stop the mass exodus of businesses and people of this county"))

.......People began running from this county, and cashing in, before this county hit rock bottom. " Our Elected Officials" ??......What Elected Officials ?.....The long time residents, and homeowners, should be paid to continue to put up with the state of this county.

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Robert 1 year, 10 months ago

How about someone from Finland where they actually know how to teach children?

http://thetyee.ca/Life/2013/01/26/Finland-Super-Kids/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/27/best-education-in-the-wor_n_2199795.html

"Finland's education policy developed in the 1970s as a consciously long-term project. North American educators and politicians are pushovers for quick fixes and the fad of the week."

"The Learning Curve shows Finland beating almost everyone else -- and not even spending as much as many other countries."

"Even more remarkably, Finland's success isn't just a product of a few elite schools, or a wealthy social class; as PISA notes, "No other country has so little variation in outcomes between schools, and the gap within schools between the top- and bottom-achieving students is extraordinarily modest as well. Finnish schools seem to serve all students well, regardless of family background or socio-economic status."

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OscarKnight 1 year, 10 months ago

....."Learning Curve" in Clayton County School System has too far many obstacles & distractions in their path, even when it's operating on "normal standards". The Clayton County School System is composed of many students, from various cultures, races, environments, social classes, ideals, and family backgrounds. One race, might have three different social classes and behavior traits. ......The School System began the uniform approach, but it didn't stop the bullied or harassments among the students. ....The Clayton County School System is a soup, being cooked by cashiers. My advice, is to change the program; from Disorder to Order by incorporating codes of military style training techniques. This would boost the morale, and the undivided attention of the students.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 10 months ago

.....Riddle me with this :

....Is The Return on Our Investment, in this School System, showing profit ?

......What is the Motivation Factor behind this :

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OscarKnight 1 year, 10 months ago

....I posted this in 2010. on the Ethnicity of our High Schools :

http://claytonwatchdog.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=thehighschools

......The Ethnicity of our school system is very unbalanced to be fair, this is a problem.

.....Example : North Clayton High School « Thread Started on Mar 12, 2010, 8:32pm »

Ethnicity - Total Students - % of Students

Asian/Pacific Islander - 47 - 5.6

Hispanic - 25 - 2.9

American Indian/Alaska - 4 - .4

Black - 750 - 89.3

White - 2 - .2

Multi racial - 11 - 1.3

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OscarKnight 1 year, 10 months ago

......What is Unbalanced ?

.......Until recently, State Rep.Roberta Abdul-Salaam was a State Rep, for 74th district in Clayton County :

"Abdul-Salaam was the Region One Director of the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples' Agenda's Voter Empowerment Crusade, which registered over 40,000 voters in 2002, including 2000 high school seniors in metro Atlanta public schools."

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OscarKnight 1 year, 10 months ago

.....The Current State Of Dumbness in Clayton County :

Election Summary Report Clayton County State of Georgia General Election November 6, 2012 Summary For Jurisdiction Wide, All Counters, All Races Official and Complete

SHERIFF
Total Total Votes 83618

VICTOR HILL (D) 63936 76.46%[/b]

GARLAND WATKINS 16773 20.06%

http://www.news-daily.com/users/photos/2013/jan/23/62361/

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