Gwinnett County Public Schools will eliminate 54 vacant central-office positions and release some other employees as it copes with an $89 million revenue shortfall for fiscal year 2013.
“Not a single option we are considering to balance next year’s budget is a ‘good’ one," said GCPS Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks in a released statement. "That said, in these difﬁcult budget times, we are committed to presenting a balanced budget, doing everything possible to protect instructional time, valuing our employees, and implementing cost-saving measures wherever feasible.”
GCPS attributes the shortfall to a variety of factors including:
- a $36 million decline in local tax revenue. In 2012, is expected to drop another 7.5 percent in value. The tax digest has shrunk 24 percent since 2008 resulting in $133 million in lost revenue for GCPS.
- the loss of $31 million in federal stimulus funds that were used to balance previous budgets.
- an $11 million increase in health insurance premiums for school system employees.
- the need to hire more teachers due to growth in enrollment, costing an estimated $4 million.
- an estimated $7 million mandatory increase in the school system's contributions to the Teachers Retirement System.
To address the shortfall, GCPS plans include:
- reducing central office departmental budgets by another 2.5 percent for $1.6 million in savings.
- eliminating 54 central office positions to save $2.7 million.
- ending payments to one external charter school for a savings of $2 million.
- increasing most class sizes by two students.
- continuing two furlough days for all employees except bus drivers and school nutrition staff.
- releasing all employees hired after the beginning of the school year and retired part-time employees.
- leaving vacant any district-level positions when possible.
The school system does not plan to reduce employees' salaries and will not reduce the number of instructional days or instructional time as they work to address the current budget shortfall.
See the attached pdf for additional details.