The DeKalb County Board of Education has rejected a plan to lay off more than 300 educators.
The 5-2 vote to keep the teachers came during a meeting Monday afternoon at the school district's headquarters in Stone Mountain. School board officials now must go back and find other ways to cut into a $13 million budget shortfall, before the start of school on August 13.
The district was hoping that history would repeat itself, and that hundreds of teachers would retire, resign, or leave the district on their own terms. That did not happen to the level they needed or expected, leaving the school board with big salary expenses still unaccounted for.
"I think they made some bad assumptions, about how much attrition would be able to absorb these cuts," said board member Nancy Jester.
The board did not announce when they will reconvene to present a new budget plan.
Twice last week, board members were supposed to vote on Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson's recommendation of cutting 250 teacher positions and 120 paraprofessional positions. She said the cuts were necessary to balance the district's budget, which included $85 million in spending cuts.
"We're not seeing the same rate of retirement, nor are we seeing the same number of people leaving the district," said Dr. Atkinson during Wednesday's meeting.
But board members were unable to agree on a plan to further balance the budget. Several members argued that other areas can be cut further, before teachers are laid off. The board chairman decided to postpone the vote.
On July 10, the school board approved a tax hike to DeKalb County residents by a 5-4 vote. The move is expected to bring in an additional $14.8 million to the school system.
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