The DeKalb County Board of Education now has an $8.3 million reserve fund, following a heated debate Thursday evening at the district's headquarters in Stone Mountain.
The final vote on the new budget was 5-4. The board faced an $85 million budget deficit. "It was a hard decision. There were hard choices across the board," said DeKalb School System spokesman Walter Woods. "We've been deliberating for weeks, and now we have a budget we can work with."
The main points of the budget are:
- There are four furlough days on the current calendar; there will be an additional two furlough days for a total of six furlough days, for Central Office and educators.
- Additional two students per class, standard and special education classes.
- A 1-mill tax increase, which is about $80 on a $200,000 house per year.
- Fernbank's budget has been reduced by $1.9 million from its budget of $5 million. It will remain open as a fully functioning science center.
"If this is what they can do to operate the budget, we still have to put the children first," said Lucinda O'Neal, a social studies teacher at Redan Middle School, where she's taught for at least ten years. "As an educator, I'm committed."