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Schools to take 3 more furlough days, budget cut again
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Last Friday, Governor Perdue recommended three additional furlough days this semester as well as a 1.5 percent cut in Quality Based Education funds to the state legislature. Rockdale County Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Lee Davis told the school board this would translate into a $1.8 million reduction in QBE funds for the school system. This amount coupled with the $2.8 million reduction handed down in July represents a total slash of $4.6 million in state funds for this fiscal year.

RCPS already had one of these furlough days on January 4. According to Davis, they will try to figure out a way of not passing the other two days on as they continue to gather information. Davis should have a better idea by February’s board meeting. Approximately $500,000 is saved on a furlough day.

A bright spot in the bleak financial picture is the percentage of revenue is higher and the percentage of expenditures is less than this same time last year. Currently, 80 percent of projected SPLOST funds have been collected. Davis also noted that from what he’s heard from other counties, "We’re in a lot better shape than a lot of our counterparts."

Superintendent King stated, "An important piece is that we’ve improved our communications with local legislators to the point that when it’s time to make decisions, they inquire about the impact on us. We can have our finger on the pulse of the discussion."

In more uplifting business, special recognition for achievements abounded Thursday evening. Middle school students led the charge. Tyler Page and Charles Garner from Conyers Middle School were selected to participate in the National Young Leaders Conference later this month.

Also from CMS, Alicia Johnson and Hakeem McGee were selected for leadership positions at the 2009 AVID Summer Institute in Atlanta. AVID stands for the Advancement Via Individual Determination. Students in this program enroll in advanced course work and agree to be role models for other students. Johnson served as key note speaker, and McGee served as Student Leader at the national conference.

Work from two talented artists from Davis Middle School, Sophie Moll and Lianne Ashton, was selected for display at the Capitol Art Exhibit in Atlanta. This exhibit is the premier event of Youth Art Month in March.

Representatives from each school in the district on the Parental Advisory Council were honored for their dedication to the success of RCPS. Christie Medlock from Honey Creek Elementary was one of 28 parents from across Georgia to serve on the State Parent Advisory Council.

Finally, Principals Georgi Brown, Greg Fowler, Tonya Bloodworth, Dr. David Ray and Shirley Chesser from Rockdale County, Heritage, Salem, Lorraine and Honey Creek, respectively, were recognized for the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement honors they received earlier in the month.