• APS considering options to cover $45 million shortfall

    By: Carl Willis


    Leaders of Atlanta Public Schools are considering several options to cover a $45 million shortfall in next year's budget.

    Possible steps to close the gap include scrapping planned employee bonuses, cutting jobs and dipping into the reserves.

    One parent who attended a public meeting on the budget told Channel 2's Carl Willis she is concerned.

    "It's going to be a pretty drastic burden on our teachers and our students and it will make everybody's lives much more difficult next year," Heather Hallett said.

    The APS chief financial officer said employees haven't received bonuses in five years.

    They were supposed to get a 3 percent bonus in an effort to boost morale, but that could be canceled in order to save the district $10 million.

    "There's a gap between what we would like to do and what resources are actually available to support us," said CFO Chuck Burbridge.

    The school system is also looking at eliminating 26 positions to save $2.1 million.

    Hallett said her children's school, Springdale Park Elementary, is already bracing for cuts.

    "We are slated to lose four teachers overall, through the (Early Intervention Program), the school day will be shortened, our class sizes are rising across the board. and all of our teachers are being asked to do more with less," she said.

    There's also a proposal to take $20 million from reserve funds.

    "It's an amount we feel comfortable proposing and it still allows the district to maintain a savings account that meets our objectives," Burbridge said.

    Hallett said she's still not sold on the proposals.

    "It feels like it's going to be too heavy of a burden on the schools," she said.

    The CFO said the cuts are just proposals at this point, and public input is welcome.

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