More news today on cuts to schools, with Cobb predicting a worse deficit than originally expected.
According to the AJC story this morning, Cobb schools chief Fred Sanderson told the seven-member board that the system’s budget shortfall will likely be $137.7 million next year because of declining revenues. A week ago the working shortfall figure was about $100 million.
What I think is interesting – and bound to be a point of contention — is Cobb school board member David Morgan’s comment that if teachers have to lose their jobs, he doesn’t want the decision based on seniority. “My big concern would be human capital and making sure we keep the best and the brightest,” Morgan said. “If we are raising class size we have to make sure we have the best and the brightest in front of those pupils.”
Here are some details from the Cobb story:
Sanderson said has recommended cuts to reduce that shortfall, including six furlough days for all school district staff, which he said would save $19 million, and increasing the maximum class size, which would save $53 million. That means fewer teachers.
Those increases could mean that the student-to-teacher ratio would go from 19 students per teacher to 22 students per teacher in kindergarten; from 20 students per teacher to 23 students per teacher in the first through third grades; from 27 students per teacher to 30 students per teacher in fourth through fifth grades; and from 23.5 students per teacher to 30 students per teacher in the sixth through eighth grades. The student-to-teacher ratio would go from 26 students per teacher to 32 students in grades nine through 12.
Sanderson said the last thing he wants to do is take the budget cuts into the classroom and tamper with the ratio of students to teachers and the learning environment.
“Nobody wants to protect the classroom more than I do,” he said. “But there’s also the realization that 90 percent of the budget is personnel, and you can’t have it both ways.”