The AJC has a big picture story on the cuts to school. It opens with this great set of lines: The state has cut $1 billion from education in just 19 months, inexorably turning the screws on local schools. Turns out that was just practice.
The story is a depressing litany of the proposed cuts to local systems. I am curious. Are there systems that can navigate through this recession without major cuts? (Someone sent me a note that Coweta is in better shape than most.)
Here are some details from the story about how deep and wide the cuts will go in the major metro systems:
The avalanche began when DeKalb County school officials said last month that the system would be short $88 million in its 2011 budget. Since then, so many other shoes have dropped, it’s starting to look like a Rack Room out there.
On Thursday, Cobb County schools said their shortfall would approach $100 million. On Friday, Gwinnett County schools gave the same report: $100 million short. Clayton County said it will be nearly $63 million in the hole; and Atlanta, $47 million. Fulton County has said its shortfall could reach $120 million.
DeKalb now says its gap could hit $115 million. Those systems alone are facing total cuts of more than a half-billion dollars.
Each metro school system has a different strain of the same virus, and each will have different ways of treating it.
Some are further along than others in determining — or at least in disclosing — the extent of their financial problems for 2011; all are working on the 2011 budget.
For example, Cherokee County schools haven’t set a budget for 2011, but Superintendent Frank Petruzielo said that elementary school arts, music and physical education programs are in the cross-hairs if cuts become necessary.
“If the choice is between cutting first-grade teachers or reducing the scope of programs in art and music and physical education, I don’t need to tell you which of those is going on the chopping block,” he said.