CONYERS -- Officials at Rockdale County Public Schools are meeting with Rockdale County Board of Education members this week to make more secure plans for the next budget year.
The school board held a special meeting of the finance committee Tuesday night to discuss the budget for the 2010-11 school year.
RCPS Chief Financial Officer Lee Davis said the school system is looking to cut between $5 million and $10 million, based on estimates and depending on revenue. He said the state has provided RCPS with a budget that he expects to stay about the same, but the board might not know final local revenue figures until July.
He proposed to the school board Tuesday several options to save more than $7 million.
Davis is proposing to eliminate its 4 percent contribution to the alternative retirement program, which provides funding for retired educators under the Teachers Retirement System. RCPS will continue retirement contributions for other retired employees, such as maintenance workers, transportation staff and food service workers, not using TRS.
He said that will save about $3.6 million.
As previously discussed, RCPS also plans to increase class sizes about one student per class to save about $1.4 million.
"We think we'll probably get all (staff reductions) through attrition," Davis said. "But if we have any cuts, we think it will be less than five (positions)."
He said if that happens, they will try to place those teachers in substitute positions and other available jobs in RCPS.
To save about $1.8 million, Davis said the staff allotments the school board approved in January included modifications to a points plan. Schools earn points based on their free and reduced meal price population and transient rate based on the movement of students within a school year; the points in turn give them flexibility to hire more teachers and paraprofessionals as needed.
RCPS also expects to cut non-salary budgets by 5 percent in each department, except for the utilities budget. This is expected to save about $400,000, Davis said.
To save up to an additional $5 million, the board will be presented with three options. Members can enact no furlough days for employees, five furlough days to save $2.5 million or 10 furlough days to save $5 million.
During the school board's monthly work session tonight, Davis will ask the board to review the three options, one of which they are expected to approve during the regular session meeting May 20.
Davis said RCPS does not plan to shorten or change the 180-day instructional calendar for students unless absolutely necessary if revenue projections are worse than anticipated.
RCPS employees received six furlough days this school year, as requested by Gov. Sonny Perdue due to reductions in state funding.
The board is expected to receive a tentative budget at tonight's meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the board room at the RCPS administrative complex, located at 954 N. Main St. in Olde Town Conyers. Davis said RCPS and the school board can change anything on the budget up until the final budget is approved in June.
The finance committee is expected to meet again before tonight's meeting, and the board also will hear any other budget changes during its June 10 work session.
"We are going to meet as much as we need to," said school board Chair Wales Barksdale.
Although RCPS is making cuts, Barksdale said he is glad that RCPS isn't facing a situation as dire as some other school systems with budget cuts exceeding $25 million.
"I thank the board who got the SPLOST approved that paid off our bonded indebtedness," he said. "(Being a debt-free school system) has allowed us to keep a lot of our programs."
The school board is expected to approve the final budget for the 2010-11 school year at its June 17 meeting.
It is scheduled to set the millage rate at its July meeting. The rate is 21 mills, as it has been since 2006. The rate has not been increased since 2003, when it was increased from 21.48 to 21.80. The next three years saw a decrease from 21.48 to 21.44 to 21, according to the tax digest history from the Rockdale County Tax Commissioner's Office.