No furlough days in Muscogee County School District's proposed 2013-14 calendar

mrice@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 11, 2013 

Muscogee County teachers won’t have furlough days anymore if, as expected, the school board approves the district administration’s 2013-14 calendar when it votes next Monday.

Interim superintendent John Phillips presented the proposed calendar during Monday night’s work session, where board member Naomi Buckner of District 4 praised his leadership.

The district started last school year with five furlough days. Phillips, who took over after Susan Andrews retired June 30, whittled the furlough days to three. Now, he plans for no days without pay for the district’s teachers.

“It is preliminary,” Phillips said, “but when you start with the end in mind, you can bet your bippy it will happen.”

But there is one proviso: This proposed calendar is based on the indications from state officials that the education budget will remain flat, Phillips said. He doesn’t expect more cuts. After the meeting, Phillips didn’t have details available about how he and his staff freed up money to erase the furlough days. He did, however, mention cutting the Cornerstone reading program, eliminating positions through attrition and freezing salaries that aren’t tied to state increases.

The proposed school calendar has classes beginning Aug. 7 and finishing May 23.

The district’s administration lists other priorities as it starts to formulate next fiscal year’s budget:

• 1.5 mills for Chattahoochee Valley Libraries.

• Personnel reductions to be adjusted through attrition when possible.

• 1 mill capital set-aside.

• Pass along step increase to qualifying personnel.

• Retain operating millage rate at 23.37 mills.

• Maintain a 16-day fund balance.

Superintendent search

Board chairman Rob Varner of District 5 said he spoke with consultant Glenn Brock, based in Marietta, Ga., and Atlanta, earlier in the day and gave an update on the superintendent search.

Brock is comparing the community and board surveys conducted by the fired search firm, McPherson & Jacobson of Omaha, Neb., with the surveys he previously did for the district, Varner said.

Brock already has talked with a number of candidates, Varner said, and plans to advertise the position in Education Week.

Construction

The administration recommends the low bidders on two projects:

• $604,000 from Strack Inc. of Fairburn, Ga., to replace the deteriorated storm water pipe under the football field at Kinnett Stadium.

• $426,734 from River City Construction of Columbus for an addition at the Lorenzo Road facility to consolidate record storage.

Retirements

Among the pending retirements in the personnel report are the district’s director of research, accountability and assessment Carol Bradshaw in May and Columbus High magnet program director Janice Hudson in June.

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