News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, May 9, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Richmond County Board of Education leaders confirm they are facing a $23 million state shortfall, which will call for drastic decisions.
Dr. Carol Rountree, executive director of Student Services, took to the airwaves days after the Georgia Educators Association raised questions about the impact a new charter school amendment could have on the cash-strapped system.
At least $10 million in state funding has been set aside for charter schools.
"I think we have some serious issues," said board member Venus Cain. "This, I think, has been going on for too long."
Bookbags could get a lot lighter as the school system debates funding new textbooks next year and up to nine furlough days that would help save about $9 million.
"Furloughs are likely," Rountree said. "As we are part of a recession, and the economy dictates certain things."
Rountree says she would not expect see more than nine furlough days. The system is also implementing a hiring freeze.
"The title hiring freeze makes it sound like we are not going to fill positions," she said. "That is not true."
But some worry the freeze could delay the opening of the new Technical Magnet School at Augusta Tech. They'll need new teachers there.
"That has been a goal for the system for quite some time," Rountree said. "We have not made a decision that it will not open. We have not asked the board to delay that."
Rountree says they are hoping to use SPLOST money to pay for new books. They are also looking at possible e-readers as a way to be more efficient. The formal budget will be presented later this month.