CONYERS -- Rockdale County Public Schools is proposing at least $15 million in cuts for next school year because of expected state and local revenue shortfalls.
RCPS Chief Financial Officer Lee Davis presented a list of $15.3 million in cuts to the Rockdale County Board of Education's finance committee on Thursday.
The proposed cuts include:
-- suspending alternative retirement contribution for the third consecutive year to save $3.6 million,
-- removing at least three staff days from the calendar to save $1.5 million,
-- deferring textbook purchases for the second consecutive year to save more than $2.7 million,
-- deferring computer and laptop replacements to save more than $1.5 million,
-- increasing class size to eliminate 58 teacher positions to save nearly $3.9 million,
-- outsourcing custodial services to save $1 million,
-- eliminating 17 central office positions to save nearly $1 million.
RCPS officials also proposed using $1.5 million in reserve funds to balance the budget.
RCPS Superintendent Samuel King has proposed that the school board approve a calendar for the 2012-13 school year with at least three staff furlough days. The calendar would be 180 student days and 187 staff days; a normal calendar year includes 180 student days and 190 staff days.
Davis said Thursday that more furlough days could be added if the state informs him of increased health costs, as he had heard could happen.
In April, he had expected adding between five and 10 staff furlough days to the calendar.
Eliminating 58 teacher positions also is less than originally expected. The initial expectation was 69 teachers. The eliminations occur through resignations, retirements and other natural attrition.
With staff cuts, base class size student-teacher ratios would be 21.9:1 for elementary schools, 27.1:1 for middle schools and 22:1 for high schools, but gifted, exploratory and federally-funded Title I teachers would reduce the ratio even more, according to RCPS.
Cuts to central office positions include special education consultants, a prevention intervention specialist, a warehouse position, a transportation supervisor, a buildings and grounds mechanic, a social worker position and several secretarial positions.
Next school year's cuts continue the four-year trend of multi-million dollar cuts, with next year's being the largest.
Last school year, RCPS cut more than $9 million, including eliminating programs like summer school and drivers education, making enrichment camps fee-based and eliminating several central office positions. The millage rate also was increased.
For the 2010-11 school year, RCPS cut more than $10 million, and more than $4 million was cut the prior school year.
The school board is expected to adopt a tentative budget Thursday.
The board is expected to approve a final budget on June 14 and a millage rate in July or August, according to its budget calendar.
The next public meeting for budget discussions is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 14, in the board room at the RCPS central complex, which is located at 954 North Main St. in Conyers.