Atlanta joined other metro school systems in announcing plans to lay off employees to cope with a worsening budget crisis.
Gwinnett is planning for 585 fewer employees, Cobb is planning for 250 fewer, Henry is planning to cut 200, DeKalb is planning for 133 fewer, and Clayton and Fayette might have to work with roughly 100 fewer employees.
The AJC reports that the APS board is looking at cutting up to 475 jobs, including about 230 teachers, 90 custodians and 14 bus drivers and transportation staffers. Some of the layoffs are a result of a recent school redistricting, others because of declining revenue.
“We’re going to rethink almost everything we do, from the classroom to central offices,” said Chuck Burbridge, APS’ chief financial officer.
Revenue from property taxes has dropped by $119 million since 2008. Over the same period, the budget for the 49,000-student district has decreased by $56 million.
Almost every department was asked to cut spending by 10 percent in order to accommodate a leaner proposed budget of $564.8 million. Employees will again have two furlough days, and there will not be raises or cost-of-living increases.
Like most school systems, the district spends most of its money — 53.6 percent — on salaries. Benefits are the second-highest expense and make up more than 20 percent of the budget. That’s why APS leaders say it’s impossible to make cuts without cutting people.
“We will have to reduce labor force to achieve this,” Burbridge said.
APS hasn’t yet decided who will get a pink slip. The budget is expected to be finalized in early June and the layoffs executed June 30. Some positions will be eliminated as a result of attrition or as educators implicated in a cheating scandal leave the district.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog