by: Amy Napier Viteri Updated:DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. —
DeKalb County taxpayers took aim at school board members during Wednesday's budget hearing as the district
worked to close a $73 million gap.
Board members are proposing deep cuts.
Some residents objected to an increase in the board's budget as well as the
Caroline Lord told Channel 2 Action News the board has mismanaged funds for years at the cost of students and teachers. "Where are they getting money to increase their budgets while they're asking teachers to take furlough days? While they're asking for pay cuts?", Lord asked.
Members voted for two more furlough days for a total of six next year. They also proposed a tax increase of one mill, the equivalent of
$80 a year for a $200,000 home. "At the same time pay more taxes because that's where you're hitting them multiple times. Not just once", Lord added.
The board cut nearly
$15 million by losing 140 central office jobs and doing away with overtime pay. They proposed increasing class size by one student. Not all parents agreed. One mother who signed up to speak said there is no more physical space in the classrooms, which are already overcrowded.
Many parents were pleased the board backed off of closing the Fernbank Science Center, which could have saved around
$5 million. But cuts to school resource officers were a concern for parents and officers themselves. One SRO who signed up to speak at the meeting said cutting officers is the equivalent of eliminating safety since there are too few officers already.
The board is scheduled to approve the final budget on June 11.