“I want to commend all our principals and department heads, they’ve done a good job in managing our money,” Superintendent Howard Hinesley said during Monday’s CCBOE business session. “We have not reduced the per-pupil allocation, we have not reduced anything the schools have been receiving ... and once again our kids are going 180 days and our teachers are working 190 days.”
Hinesley said, however, the board will face tough decisions in upcoming years regarding the budget due to ongoing state and federal cuts combined with rising costs.
“Something has got to give, at least for us, in the next couple of years. You have seen what’s happening [with other districts] and they have really taken a hit,” Hinesley said. “You look at Floyd County, they laid off [numerous] people ..., it’s all around us, and we’ve been very fortunate to communicate and thanks to the board’s supervision and wisdom, we’ve been able to manage our money pretty well.”
He cited a 5 to 6 percent decrease in the tax roll as a contributing factor to ongoing budget concerns.
Last year the board took various measures to balance the budget that were met with some criticism. For example, the board voted to raise the millage rate by 1 mill as well as reduce 22 paraprofessionals in the classroom and privatize insurance for all paraprofessional and bus monitoring positions.
Also during the meeting, the board voted to approve a three-year contract to CRS Advanced Technology for the SubFinder program in the amount of $17,853. Discussed during last month’s meeting, Hinesley explained under the Affordable Care Act school systems will need to find more efficient ways of tracking substitute teachers’ working hours.
“You have to track [substitute teachers] by the hour, so these teachers appear to be eligible for health care if they fall into one of two methods of computing ... and tracking their hours; if you track more than 30 hours in a pay period or three- to six-month pay period, they will be eligible for health care,” Hinesley said during June’s business session. “We were told the [U.S.] Department of Labor has hired 1,500 people to police us [on computing and tracking hours].
He said during Monday’s meeting the recent announcement by President Barack Obama to delay the implementation of the law until 2015 will allow the school system more time to learn how to better deal with the matters of health insurance and tracking substitute teachers.
“Our goal will be to have [SubFinder] up and running by Oct. 1 and work with the schools to help us smooth the implementation of using the SubFinder system,” Hinesley said. “Teachers will still be able to select certain subs they like and they will be input into the system.”
He said a bonus of the system is it will be paperless, but a downside is if the system isn’t properly used, two substitute teachers could show up for the same class on the same day. Hinesley also said a remaining challenge will be long-term subs, in which one possibility is limiting such a position to retired teachers.
In other school news, the board approved a ratification on prior approval for required elevator repairs at Cartersville High School in the amount of $10,465.
The board also approved a bid of $237,678 for interior design improvements in the high school’s cafeteria. Hinesley said the improvements will include new tables and a “cyber cafe” theme.
For more information on the cafeteria upgrades, read future editions of The Daily Tribune News.