CHEROKEE — Cherokee County schools will likely regain two school days next year, bringing the number of furlough days down from eight to six.
At Thursday’s work session, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo said that the district expected the tax digest to increase, resulting in the school portion of tax assessments to rise approximately 2.6 percent after exemptions and appeals are applied. Petruzielo announced that, because of this, the district would be able to bring the number of instructional days for students from 175 to 177.
Assistant Superintendent for Financial Management Candler Howell said the 2.6 percent increase would amount to roughly $2.8 million more than last year for the Cherokee County School District’s maintenance and operations budget.
Petruzielo stated it was important to remember the CCSD lost more than $50 million between 2008 and 2012 from state and local funding. Due to anticipated funding shortfalls because of the federal sequestration and state austerity budget cuts, Petruzielo said the district will still have to cut $7 million from the budget for fiscal year 2013-14.
In a status report packet on the tentative budget preparation, Petruzielo wrote that the ad hoc budget committee’s proposed budget cuts and annual cost reductions for 2013-14 include: teaching staff reductions (through attrition), transferring building maintenance expenses to the SPLOST budget, modifying the current custodial services employment model, support and paraprofessional staff reductions, allocating workers’ compensation costs to the departments, increasing fees for the Before and After School programs, eliminating CCSD contributions for dental and long-term disability benefits, realigning transportation routes, privatizing grounds services, reducing utility costs, eliminating portable classrooms and reassigning custodial staff.
Petruzielo wrote that these changes would result in $7.16 million in savings.
He wrote that preliminary data notes the district could save $100,000 if they privatized grounds services. This would affect eight district employees and go into effect the 2013-14 school year if approved. At the June 13 meeting the board will review proposals.
Petruzielo also said that preliminary data shows that privatizing custodial services could lead to “substantial” cost reductions.
Petruzielo said the board is reviewing three options including privatization, changing the model of custodian employee hours and a hybrid of the two.