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Cherokee School Board Approves Budget

The $518.74 million budget does not include increased student-paid fees for extracurricular activities.

The on Wednesday night approved the school system’s $518.74 budget for 2012-2013 after Superintendent Frank Petruzielo told four parents who spoke that the budget does not include an increase in costs for parents of students who participate in band or sports.

by board member Kim Cochran as a way to free up more money to be used in classrooms. That’s something that Michelle Dodge, whose four children have played sports in the Cherokee County School System, said would be detrimental. Many students wouldn’t be able to play if their parents had to pay more than they currently do, she said.

“There’s no way you could make pay to play equitable,” Dodge said. “The middle class is hurting as well.”

Marguerite White told board members they should have been ashamed of themselves for trying to balance the school system’s budget on the backs of the students. White said that at , lacrosse players already pay $1,200 in fees and football players pay the bulk of the sport’s costs, including some of the coach’s salaries.

“The county pays very little for football,” White said. “For other sports, (the district) doesn’t pay much, if it does at all.”

Christina Brown said her son is the captain of his school’s cross country team and also is a member of the track team. As a single parent with three children, she said her son will no longer be able to participate if student fees are increased.

“I’m sure I’m one of the many households in who struggle to make ends meet,” she said.

Petruzielo said that the upcoming year is the worst the school system has seen and that an ad-hoc committee will be tasked in the coming year to look at various options related to fees for extracurricular activities paid by parents.

“We’ve got to make the tough decisions no matter how hard they are,” he said.

In the last few years, the school system’s budget has been cut by $120 million.

“We’re down to bones,” he said.

The tax digest value, which is where the school system gets approximately half of its funding, is at the same level it was in 2006, and the district has 5,000 more students. If the financial situation doesn’t get better, some costs will have to be transferred to parents in the future, Petruzielo said.

“Going forward, that and just about everything else are going to have to be looked at carefully,” he said.

The budget increases staff furlough days from four to eight, increases the instructional day by 15 minutes; maximizes class size and reduces teacher allotments system-wide, affecting 93 teachers; decreases substitute teacher compensation by $10; decreases long-term substitute teacher compensation by $11; reduces high school athletic transportation supplements; and eliminates middle school athletic transportation supplements.

The budget does, however, include 3 percent longevity step increases for employees beginning January 2013. And it doesn’t call for an increase in property taxes.

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Jim Beam July 29, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Brandon Beach, Kyla Cromer, Janet Read, and Patsy Jordan are all TSPLOST supporters. They have no new ideas - it's just spend, spend, spend...tax, tax, tax. Beach, Cromer, Read, and Jordan are FOR MORE TAXES. Rogers, Marlow, Dukes, and Cochran are for less spending and no more tax increases. It's that simple.
Frank Jones July 29, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Steely, again you're wrong. Those four are for public school money going to fund charter and private school tuition. Rogers is for the new HOST tax which will cut business property taxes while increasing sales taxes on individuals. Are four all for special interest groups that will contribute to their campaigns.
Jim Beam July 29, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Frank, you're wrong as usual. Not a single CCSD $ goes to Charter schools and none ever will as long as the local board doesn't approve of it. Beach loves TSPLOST. Read loves TSPLOST. Cromer loves TSPLOST. Jordan loves TSPLOST. All 4 love more taxes and more furlough days. Teachers will be fired en-masse next year once Dr. P's latest budget doesn't mean his increased spending again. Vote for Rogers, Dukes, Marlow, and Jordan to eliminate Teacher Furloughs. Vote Rogers, Dukes, Marlow & Jordan to preserve Teacher jobs.
Jim Beam July 29, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Frank...for the 3rd time....what's your opinion on Dr. P's threat to "transfer more costs to parents" next year? What's your opinion on Dr. P, Read, and Cromer's plans of Infinite Tax Increases? A vote for Read, Cromer, & Jordan == Teachers getting Fired. Repeating the same thing & expecting different results == insanity!! SAVE OUR SCHOOLS. SAVE TEACHERS' JOBS. Vote Dukes, Marlow, & Cochran.
Mitchell Black February 12, 2013 at 01:44 AM
No, it does not start or end in the Gold Dome. It starts and ends with our school board, and their overpayed crybaby. Lets try hiring people for our school system who actually care about the children. Starting with the Superintendent and going down to the teachers. The truth is that our school system is awful. Our teachers and principles are lazy, and really couldn't care less about anything but covering their own behinds, our children do just enough to get by, and are woefully underprepared for college; But ultimately, it is us, the parents who are at fault because we put up with it, instead of running the bums out of town.

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