DeKalb Schools budget could include funding cuts, teacher furloughs

Schools across the county had students on the prestigious list.

Combined ShapeCaption
Schools across the county had students on the prestigious list.

The DeKalb County School District could see teacher furlough days and cuts to other discretionary spending as it finalizes a budget to operate full-time in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The district could need $1.18 billion to operate for the upcoming school year, officials said during the DeKalb County Board of Education’s monthly meeting on Monday.

Gov. Brian Kemp has called for a 14% cut to school budgets, Superintendent Ramona Tyson said during the meeting, saying that equated to approximately $76 million for the district. Emergency funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, through which the district will receive about $34 million so far, will help with shortfalls, district officials said.

“These are unusual circumstances in unusual times,” Tyson said.

The tentative budget projections include funding to quickly make sure students have necessary technology to work from home as classroom shutdowns due to the coronavirus exposed weaknesses in virtual learning systems across the country.

Masana Mailliard, the district’s latest interim chief financial officer, said the budget completion timeline will be impacted by the coronavirus, as the state’s has delayed its budget until June 30, which impacts knowing exactly how much in state funding the district will receive.

“Other districts are waiting for (the state) before making their decisions,” she said.

In discussing potential cost-saving measures, officials said the district would save $3.5 million for each teacher furlough day and about $500,000 for a central office staff furlough day.