As predicted, budget challenges for schools are not going away next year, although there is some brighter news out of DeKalb for teachers.
Here are some AJC stories as well as some info sent to me by teachers about Race to the Top-driven contracts:
DeKalb: The DeKalb school board Monday adopted a tentative $1.16 billion budget for 2011-12, which restores furlough days for district employees. (To be clear, that means that DeKalb canceled almost all the furlough days enacted last year.)
Clayton County: Clayton public school employees will get to keep $6.4 million in incentive pay but must take five furlough days by the end of June under a budget-cutting plan approved Monday. The furlough days will help save the jobs of elementary school counselors and music and art teachers, but elementary gym teachers and those who work with students in in-school suspension programs weren’t so lucky. Even after a spirited debate to hang onto physical education positions, the board voted to cut 60 physical education and ISS jobs.
District employees were given $6.4 million of $9 million in federal stimulus job-saving money late last year in exchange for attending professional development training, which must be completed by June. The money became a political and legal issue during last week’s regularly scheduled meeting and the board tabled a decision until Monday night — when it abandoned the idea of trying to retrieve the money. Monday’s meeting drew a standing-room crowd as district workers came to learn the fate of their incentive pay and possible jobs.
I also received a note that Cherokee was issuing contracts to teachers that included a performance pay option. I had the note on the blog, but Cherokee says the information was incorrect. And while Cherokee is part of the state’s Race to the Top grant, it says it is not rolling out any performance pay plan at this point.
Here is the official response from Carrie Budd, coordinator, Community Relations & Publications, for Cherokee:
Cherokee County School District has not offered any contracts as of yet, and likely will not do so until May. Those contracts will be based on the same salary schedule as the current year (which is NOT a merit-based system). CCSD is an active participant in Race To The Top, but the specific timelines for any performance-based pay have yet to be determined.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog