15 Sep 2014
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Cobb School Board Cuts Furlough Day

A new principal also was appointed on Thursday for Sprayberry High School.

Cobb School Board Cuts Furlough Day

One of three staff furlough days imposed by the Cobb Board of Education for the 2012-13 school year has been eliminated.

By a 5-2 vote, the board granted on Thursday a paid workday to teachers and support staff that will cost the Cobb County School District an estimated $3 million, to come from reserve funds. 

Voting against the measure were Tim Stultz, of Post 2 in the Smyrna area, and Kathleen Angelucci, of Post 4 in North Cobb. 

They objected because of another significant deficit anticipated for the 2013-14 school year. Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said no detailed analysis has been done, but estimated the hole will be "at least" $40 million.

In May, the board approved the three furlough days in closing a $62 million gap to balance the budget. 

"We're facing a very steep budget deficit again next year that may involve laying off," Stultz said. "It would be fiscally wise to hold on to these reserves."

But Hinojosa said the morale benefit to staff is worth the expense. 

"This is the right thing to do for our employees," Hinojosa said. 

Earlier in the meeting, Connie Jackson of the Cobb County Association of Educators applauded Hinojosa's recommendation.

"I know this is a sign of respect for the teachers, bus drivers and custodians who work very hard," she said. "It's the right thing for the right people at the right time."

In other decisions at Thursday's business meeting, the board: 

  • Approved the appointment of Kennesaw Mountain High School assistant principal John Kelly as the new principal at Sprayberry High School;
  • Appointed Angela While principal at Green Acres Elementary School, where she has been the interim principal;
  • Appointed Cheatham Hill Elementary School teacher James Wentz as an assistant administrator at the Lindley Sixth Grade Academy;
  • Rescinded the retirement of Allatoona High School principal Scott Bursmith.

The board also voted 7-0 to name a new school under construction in Smyrna as Smyrna Elementary School.

The board continued its discussions of the the parameters for evaluating Hinojosa. Academic achievement will comprise 50 percent of his evaluation, with 25 percent based on fiscal management, 15 percent coming from relations with the board, and 10 percent based on "stakeholder satisfaction," with input coming from school district employees, parents, students and taxpayers. 

More details on performance levels will be taken up next month, Hinojosa said.

Mike Addison, the chief financial officer who is retiring on Friday after 29 years of service with the school district, also was recognized at his final board meeting.

"We're losing one of the best people in the business," Hinojosa said. "We're going to miss you greatly."

School board chairman Scott Sweeney said Addison's leadership, especially during difficult budgetary times, "has been nothing short of amazing. Godspeed in your retirement."

Addison, 55, has deep roots to the Northeast Cobb community. Addison Elementary School is named after his grandfather.

Brad Johnson, formerly the assistant chief financial officer for Atlanta Public Schools, succeeds Addison starting Monday.

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