The DeKalb County Board of Education was supposed to vote on its budget on Wednesday, but delayed the decision to get more information from the state about whether or not it's allowed to shorten its school year to save money.
The suggestion was made by board member Donald McChesney, who said the move could save the district tens of millions of dollars and save taxpayers from a tax increase.
"Has anybody looked into shortening the school year like Barrow County has done, in order to come up with this (money) and then we're not going to kill everybody with the tax increase," he said.
Shortening the school year would give students longer summers and longer class days. A spokesman for the school district said it would not affect teacher pay, but the suggested six school furlough days would.
The district has an $85 million budget shortfall, partly because of an unexpected 9 percent decrease in property taxes, said Eugene Walker, the board's chair.
"Circumstances far beyond our control created the state of the economy," Walker said. "We must keep that in mind. As a result of the economy the two sources from which we primarily get our money have been hit."
Board member Paul Womack volunteered to take a 10 percent salary cut to help balance the budget.
"We are asking everyone to take a hit. We have to," Womack said.
Things like transportation for magnet schools and the Fernbank Science Center were on the chopping block before. The district recommended saving both.
Instead, 133 teaching positions could get cut. No teachers would be laid off, but positions for teachers who left the district or retired would not be filled. This could increase class sizes by 1 student in some cases, said district spokesman Walter Woods.
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