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DeKalb School Board rethinking teacher cuts? | Education

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DeKalb School Board rethinking teacher cuts?

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- Minutes into a specially called meeting to approve the DeKalb County School District's Reduction in Force Plan (RIFT) several board members appeared to have a change of heart.

"I'm just not satisfied that the fat has been cut where it can be cut so that we don't have to take this drastic action," said board member Nancy Jester.

Another board member, Donald McChesney, voiced similar concerns hinting that perhaps the board should rethink some of the items it approved money for when they passed the budget last month.

"If you make all the cuts you can where there is waste then I can make the hard decision about RIFTS," said McChesney.

The DeKalb County School Board has said it is facing an $85 million dollar shortfall.  To make ends meet it passed a millage rate increase, added two students per class, announced six furlough days and recommended the layoff of 250 teachers.

A couple board members balked at the discussion, since the budget wa salready voted on and the school year starts in a matter of weeks.

"I've promised teachers contracts and I think we should follow through with what we've promised," said Dr. Gene Walker.

The crowd at Tuesday's meeting was made up primarily of teachers who are anxious to learn if they have jobs in the coming year. 

Frustrated, school board member Jay Cunningham addressed fellw members and said,

"Give me a solution. Because everybody is speaking their emotions, but at the end of the day you don't have a solution we're at this point right now and you don't want to make a decision."

Two hours later, board members announced they would need more time before moving forward with a vote on the Reduction in Force Plan and said they would revisit the issue Thursday morning at ten.