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Franklin County community outraged over school system $550,000 debt

Sounds like somebody's hand has been in the cookie jar. How the heck does this happen? And the only solution they can come up with is to cut teacher pay and add furlough days... Another proud moment in Franklin County politics and their good ol boy system.



http://www.wjhg.com/home/headlines/School-Money-Crisis-Worries-Franklin-County-Families-188353351.html

Eastpoint- One after another teachers, students, and concerned residents laid into Franklin County School Board members Thursday.

"The thrust of all that has to be fixed is on these shoulders right here," said one person.

"As a business owner, that's probably going to end up coming back to haunt me," added added another concerned speaker.

And each time there was roaring support from an audience outraged by the school district's nearly $550,000 in debt. The state requires school district's to maintain a minimum 2% fund balance, but the situation is so severe in Franklin County, the school board has declared a financial urgency with the state.

"This thing can't be too hard to figure out. I mean you as board members are ultimately responsible," another resident told school board members.

A big question on many people's minds is how did this happen? School district officials blame lower property values and a smaller-than-estimated student population.

"Do you as the superintendent take any responsibility for being so far in debt?" NewsChannel 7's Bryan Anderson asked Franklin County School District Superintendent Nina Marks.

"Absolutely because at the end of the day I'm the one that has to answer the questions," Marks responded.

To get out of debt, the district is considering some drastic proposals. Three out of five options would mean double digit teacher pay cuts. Furlough days and health insurance reductions are also on the table.

And time is running out. The teachers union has until next week to make some sort of concessions. If not, the district said it can only afford to pay teachers until May 1st.

"Right now all we wanted to do is get to the line," said Marks.

Both sides meet next Thursday in a public negotiation meeting. The budget deadline is June 30th.
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Replies

  • Tide-DancerTide-Dancer Posts: 1,347 Officer
    Hey, But we have 9 parks inside Carrabelle city limits and lots of new PoPo cars for the county. O' and a 250K center console boat for the sheriff's department. And a sidewalk to no where. But I'm just an outsider from Georgia. What do I know.
  • BigfootBigfoot Posts: 9,383 Admiral
    Hey, But we have 9 parks inside Carrabelle city limits and lots of new PoPo cars for the county. O' and a 250K center console boat for the sheriff's department. And a sidewalk to no where. But I'm just an outsider from Georgia. What do I know.

    Seems more than others running the Budget.

    Nuts to nails no one gets fired.

    Signed: the MPA would have been a gravey train choice.
    Sometimes the nicest people you meet are covered in tattoos & sometimes the most judgmental people you meet go to church on Sundays...
  • RhettleyRhettley Posts: 1,545 Officer
    double digit teacher pay cuts. Furlough days and health insurance reductions
    I wonder how many teachers in the county are looking elsewhere for employment next year? They'll be lucky to keep enough teachers to meet state regulations.
  • illinoisfishermanillinoisfisherman Posts: 5,312 Admiral
    These financial hardships are not isolated to Franklin County. Neither are they isolated to school districts. Municipal governments EVERYWHERE are beginning to feel the "recession pinch". The problems become identifiable first in the less prosperous or "less rich" areas. As property values and the resulting municipal income from property taxes fell to 1985 values, salaries and costs remain substantially the same. The worst is yet to come unless real estate values quickly recover. Assessors are resisting lowering their real estate assessments to todays actual values for fear of creating financial disaster for all municipal government. However armed with recent sales and appraisals property owners are fighting the unfair assessments nationwide. The pot is beginning to boil and will soon boil over. Homeowners are in outright "tax revolt" in many areas. No referendums to raise taxes are being easily pased and for that matter almost all are voted down.

    There are going to be tough deisions reached in all municipal governments. Perhaps up here they will have to cut back from a crew of 12 to a crew of 6 to patch a pot hole in the road. The era of wasteful spending by any government has to come to an end. Everywhere!
  • FamilyfisherFamilyfisher Posts: 2,996 Captain
    Working in a system that is finally starting to recover a bit, Franklin county's just a little behind the times. Don't know their situation but, happily, our system is only taking 5 furlough days this year as opposed to 10 for the past 2 years. Federal funding cuts have resulted in over 8 million dollars being held back from our county alone during the past 6 years. It's very possible nobody's hand was in the cookie jar and they tried to muddle through without cutting salaries or positions. Most systems have approximately 80% of their annual budget tied up in salaries. When it comes time to cut, you trim from the smaller areas first, but cannot make up the difference with small cuts.

    We took a 5% pay cut and 10 furlough days for couple of years... We got 5 of the days back this year. Who knows if/when we'll see the pay increase. With both Lora and I in the system, it hit us doubly hard.

    I feel sorry for the Franklin County system and especially for the folks impacted by the cuts that are coming.

    FYI - Most of the items mentioned earlier, i.e. parks and police cars are likely paid for with federal funds set aside for that type of purchase specifically. Most times, funding is earmarked for purchases and cannot be used to pay salaries and/or benefits. It is also possible that it's an entirely different pot of money altogether. Just because you see purchases taking place, it does not mean that the Franklin County BOE could have used any of that money for their purposes.

    Finally, BOE is a seperate entity from the county...they don't share their monies with each other.
    Proverbs 13:3
  • BigfootBigfoot Posts: 9,383 Admiral
    Teachers are underpaid already, if we started with making Teaching...nevermind

    The popo had to have a new boat Im sure
    Sometimes the nicest people you meet are covered in tattoos & sometimes the most judgmental people you meet go to church on Sundays...
  • max kirklandmax kirkland Posts: 2,127 Officer
    you dealing with old money,,I know that old money
  • max kirklandmax kirkland Posts: 2,127 Officer
    you ever seen the mayors house or the chief on police
  • max kirklandmax kirkland Posts: 2,127 Officer
    ya'll don't have a clue what your talking about do you
  • BigfootBigfoot Posts: 9,383 Admiral
    ferris1248 wrote: »
    As Brad pointed out, two totally different sources (or pots) of funding.

    both have it worng either way...

    we need more patrol boats like Max needs more #'s
    Sometimes the nicest people you meet are covered in tattoos & sometimes the most judgmental people you meet go to church on Sundays...
  • max kirklandmax kirkland Posts: 2,127 Officer
    ya'll don't have a clue what you talking about do you?
  • RhettleyRhettley Posts: 1,545 Officer
    Tell us what's really going on in that county then Max.
  • max kirklandmax kirkland Posts: 2,127 Officer
    no sir I will not put that on here..but I can tell you this there some folks with big bucks c-belle and Aplach
  • FamilyfisherFamilyfisher Posts: 2,996 Captain
    ya'll don't have a clue what your talking about do you
    Probably not. I only have 22 years in education.
    Proverbs 13:3
  • max kirklandmax kirkland Posts: 2,127 Officer
    there is one man in c-belle that owns 267 mortgages,,you going to tell him what do?
  • illinoisfishermanillinoisfisherman Posts: 5,312 Admiral
    For the most part I would think it would be agreed that many educators are under paid. The old drum that was too often beaten was "fund it it's for our children". Voters are turning a deaf ear to that argument lately. Municipal revenues are shrinking. Budget cuts are coming. The big noise will come when the first government agency files BK to avoid paying the burden of pension debt. You may think it won't happen but it is a near certainty as the baby boomers move into retirement and less people are asked to foot the bill for the retirees.

    Real estate taxes can only do so much. As values fall so does the revenue. A real "catch 22" is the fact that as real estate taxes go upthe rise in real estate tax forces property values go down - in todays market, thus lowering the "take" governmental agencies receive from said taxes.

    No "doom & gloom". Just the facts Jack!
  • max kirklandmax kirkland Posts: 2,127 Officer
    bull-**** there not under paid,,I don't drive 40k truck every 2 years
  • dewyafishdewyafish Posts: 5,025 Admiral
    there is one man in c-belle that owns 267 mortgages,,you going to tell him what do?

    CARMAN??
    There's nothing more enjoyable than suprise morning sex...
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Unless you happen to be in jail at the time.
  • FamilyfisherFamilyfisher Posts: 2,996 Captain
    You're just before stepping across a line Max. I haven't had a new vehicle in 6 years. Vehicles I do buy are most often used. 2 NEW vehicles purchasedin 35 years. I think it is YOU that have no idea what you're talking about as the pay scale of educators. We are talking about teachers.... not board members or other politicians. Until you spend a few months in a classroom, don't think you begin to think educational professionals are over paid. I mean in charge of 30 different children whose parents are going to come at you with everything they have when you "mistreat" their child by telling them they need to behave. when you "fail them" by giving them the grades they earn.
    Proverbs 13:3
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Posts: 2,235 Captain
    Not throwing my dog into this fight, but I will say this based on my knowledge of the situation....limited though it is:

    Nina Marks is one of the most honorable people that you would ever want to know.
    Illinoisfisherman is knowledgable of the situation. He is correct in what he says. Listen to him.
    Familyfisher also knows what he's talking about! (Thanks to both you and your wife for your contribution above and beyond.....my wife and daughter are both in supervisory positions in education. I get a steady diet of the woes of the educational system, and it's sickening).
  • BigfootBigfoot Posts: 9,383 Admiral
    You're just before stepping across a line Max. I haven't had a new vehicle in 6 years. Vehicles I do buy are most often used. 2 NEW vehicles purchasedin 35 years. I think it is YOU that have no idea what you're talking about as the pay scale of educators. We are talking about teachers.... not board members or other politicians. Until you spend a few months in a classroom, don't think you begin to think educational professionals are over paid. I mean in charge of 30 different children whose parents are going to come at you with everything they have when you "mistreat" their child by telling them they need to behave. when you "fail them" by giving them the grades they earn.

    Don't forget eating school food as an adult...JS
    Sometimes the nicest people you meet are covered in tattoos & sometimes the most judgmental people you meet go to church on Sundays...
  • GANDERGANDER Posts: 371 Deckhand
    I couldn't get the link to load, and I may not know what I'm talking about after 23 years as a high school science teacher, coach, driver education teacher and local union president either, but I'll throw a few thoughts in on this one anyway:

    Is the $550K a current budget shortfall, or a deficit for the coming school year? If current year then it is hitting the fan now, if next there's time to squabble--and it can all change as the budget is a "story" of what the next year will look like.

    What percentage of the district budget does that amount to? In our rural central lower MI district with 565 students in K-12 it would be about 12% of budget, in a neighboring large district perhaps 3%. We still have a great deal of local control...no county-wide district arrangements...yet...it IS more expensive with admin redundancy.

    What is the total # of staff district wide? How does admin staff compare to teaching/ESP census? How would layoffs affect student:teacher ratio?

    Not familiar with NW FL teacher salaries, though Chris Sapp had told me they were low...$550K would be 6-10 teaching staff here (wages, benefits, taxes, retirement. We are the 2nd lowest paid on average in a 3 county area, even though our students are usually top-5 ranked locally on state test--so much for pay-for-performance...)

    Commentary about public sector funding is spot-on! As a rural district with more dairy cows than people, tax $ are very limited and we rely on shrinking state per-pupil allowance. Our district, though highly successful, is being strangled by a state government that wants to privatize public education to save money. We are representative of a very small % of public schools--serving a small, fairly homogeneous (white, Catholic, German) community that places a high value on education. From the state's perspective it would be less expensive to pay a single person to "teach" 150+ on-line learners from their home computers than to maintain buildings and a staff at a ratio of 17:1 overall. Or to pay a for-profit company to hire staff to teach charter school students...where both the students' parents and their teachers may need public assistance to supplement their income to make ends meet.

    Like FF, I'll be making the trip to the Gulf this Spring Break in a USED truck--2003 Ford--the first NEW vehicle I ever purchased. I went looking to replace it at year's end and I think the salesman thought I would have no problem affording a new one (because I was a teacher), but couldn't reach my price point. There are some places (like 20 miles form here) where teachers make $70-80K+ after 20 years and a MA or better degree...I'm not in one of those places, but I work with a pretty good student population and have more autonomy to do things like outdoor/conservation education that they would have more hassle trying to do. Not many of them taking kids on a charter fishing trip to finish the Great Lakes Fisheries unit! Would love the higher pay grade to make life a bit less financially stressful, but there aren't many mornings I'm not happy to go to work!

    I hope Franklin Co. and all municipalities/schools/etc. get this figured out soon for the benefit of the workers, their families and those in the public they serve.
  • GANDERGANDER Posts: 371 Deckhand
    Bigfoot wrote: »
    Don't forget eating school food as an adult...JS

    Actually BF, with the new Fed changes to the menu, the lunches are better than they used to be! Lots of fresh fruits, whole grains, etc. But $3/day gets expensive! I still bring leftovers from home.
  • FamilyfisherFamilyfisher Posts: 2,996 Captain
    I don't eat school food BF.
    Proverbs 13:3
  • tk's joytk's joy Posts: 2,490 Officer
    To FF and Gander, I salute you. I could never be a Teacher/Educator or a First Responder of any type. I could not, or more correctly, would not put up w/ the "stuff" that the Teachers have to w/ both the students or their so called parents. Talking to one of the Captains in MB one day, and I don't remember how we got on the subject, he told me that he was educated to be a Teacher. I asked him why he wasn't, his reply was "I'd be in jail now". I can understand that.

    tk
  • amada8amada8 Posts: 816 Officer
    In our Idaho school district, we are in a 4 million dollar hole this year. Had a surplus when the real estate values tanked....and did not adjust spending. Also had a now ex-employee put a decimal point in the wrong place last year during the budget talks.....

    Didn't go into someone's pocket...the money was an illusion.
  • BigfootBigfoot Posts: 9,383 Admiral
    I'd make a great Teacher - JS.

    I would do Summers off better than anyone.
    Sometimes the nicest people you meet are covered in tattoos & sometimes the most judgmental people you meet go to church on Sundays...
  • GANDERGANDER Posts: 371 Deckhand
    amada8 wrote: »
    In our Idaho school district, we are in a 4 million dollar hole this year. Had a surplus when the real estate values tanked....and did not adjust spending. Also had a now ex-employee put a decimal point in the wrong place last year during the budget talks.....

    Didn't go into someone's pocket...the money was an illusion.

    Don't ya hate it when business managers aren't really good in math!

    We will be spending into a 9% fund balance this year, running out in just over 2 years if something doesn't change. How do you like my chances of "negotiating" a contract that our members will be happy with?

    Goin' coastal in exactly 60 days!
  • max kirklandmax kirkland Posts: 2,127 Officer
    yall need stay out of franklin county biz..cause the more you talk I'm finding you don't know jack ****
  • plumbbobplumbbob Posts: 791 Officer
    My wifes been a teacher for 25yrs. Everyday it's something. And every week they throw more crap at her. Expect her to do more for less. It's terrible. As far as the money goes it's like IF said. There's less money floating around for the schoolboards to work with. It comes from her pocket.
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