Gwinnett schools approved a budget today that calls for two unpaid furlough days for most employees, two extra students per classroom and nearly 600 fewer people on the payroll. Most of the job cuts will come from leaving open jobs unfilled.
Spending for day-to-day operations of the state’s largest school district will be $1.2 billion for the fiscal year that starts July 1, down $60.6 million from this year.
“It’s a very tough budget,” said Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks. “It’s one we have lots of concerns with, but it will allow us to continue to do what we need to do.”
The largest share of the savings — $43 million — will come from leaving vacant 585 jobs, where employees — mostly teachers — have retired, resigned or transferred, and adding an average of two students per classroom.
The system will save another $10 million by furloughing employees for a fourth straight year. The two unpaid furlough days will apply to all employees, with the exception of bus drivers and school nutrition workers.
School districts are winding down work on budgets that call for drastic cuts next year, including the elimination of at least 2,000 jobs in metro Atlanta. For them, a combination of factors is at play: under-funding from the state, falling property taxes and the end of federal stimulus money that had helped bridge the gap.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog