School district announces 2013 budget numbers

SNELLVILLE — During his 17 years as superintendent with Gwinnett County Public Schools, J. Alvin Wilbanks has seen the district through some tough times.

“Our biggest challenge over the years remains the financials,” Wilbanks said Tuesday evening. “The Fiscal Year 2013 budget is the most difficult I’ve ever seen.”

He addressed a packed house at South Gwinnett High School during an area board meeting, an event Wilbanks and other education officials used as an opportunity to talk with the public about the state of the school district.

Among topics was the projected $1.7 billion Fiscal Year 2013 budget, a number that the Gwinnett County Public Schools board of education could approve in April.

Officials with Gwinnett County Public Schools plan to stay the course for the most part while working with the projected FY 2013 budget, with $1.2 billion earmarked for general operations.

Representing a $5.8 million decrease from the previous year, the projections anticipate no layoffs, maintaining a hiring freeze and the continuation of two furlough days a year. FY 2013 predictions also assume the continued trend of slower enrollment growth.

Earlier in March, the board of education discussed a projected $89 million shortfall stemming from a combination of declining local tax revenue and diminished federal stimulus dollars.

Projected property tax revenue losses for FY 2013 are estimated to be about $36 million, according to Rick Cost, chief financial officer.

Over the past four years, Cost said, the district “has lost almost a quarter of our local digest revenue,” or $133 million.

To address the $89 million budget shortfall for FY 2013, officials with the district plan to leave vacant the positions of those who retire or leave their jobs through attrition — an estimated 585 positions. The central office is projected to lose about 54 positions through attrition. A continued hiring freeze is also in effect.

Through leaving positions vacant and continuing its hiring freeze, the district anticipates a savings of about $45 million.

Operating expenses —excluding fuel, utilities, school allotments and instructional materials — will be cut across the board by 2.5 percent for a savings of $1.6 million.

A reduction in employer contributions to the Gwinnett Retirement System will result in about $19 million in savings, Cost said.

The district is also set to receive about $21 million from the state in additional funding.

No millage increase is anticipated from Gwinnett County Public Schools.

The GCPS board of education could vote on the FY 2013 budget in April.


BuzzG 3 years, 6 months ago

What an expensive mess. Someone please tell me how to opt out.


LoganvilleResident 3 years, 6 months ago

Move out of Gwinnett. Problem solved.

I am very pleased with the education my children receive in Gwinnett. They are doing very well in school and far exceed national standards on testing benchmarks. How do they see such good results? Gwinnett has typically had the money to spend on the best technology and facilities to ensure a good education.

If they hadn't spent the money, we wouldn't have the excellent school system that brings business and people to Gwinnett.


NewsReader 3 years, 6 months ago

"...They are doing very well in school and far exceed national standards on testing benchmarks..."

And just where are the national standards and testing benchmarks set? If mediocrity is the measuring stick, I understand why you are very pleased with the education your children receive in Gwinnett. It's about the best a government school can offer in the State of Georgia.


ssilover1 3 years, 6 months ago

Bless your heart. You can't stand success no matter how measured.


NewsReader 3 years, 6 months ago

Thanks! My heart is blessed so many times over already, so I really could care less for your cynical blessing. But your supposition that "...[I] can't stand success no matter how measured..." is really RICH. You run with that. Tell us all how that's working out for ya! LOL, how long is your measuring stick?


OutofMoney 3 years, 6 months ago

Waiting to see the whos, whats, wheres and how they are making these adjustments. Many adjustments should have been made many years ago. Don't spend the budget just to spend the budget. It has always been said in government, that if you do not spend it you will not get it.


impeich 3 years, 6 months ago

Funny Wilbanks talking budget and money and the fact that thee "tradition" of furlough days has gone on for atleast the last 4 years yet since 2008, his salary has increased by $66,619.61 (open.georgia.gov). Teachers have gotten no raises, no step increases and furlough days and Wilbanks is making more money. I'd be willing to bet that if I had checked other central office staff pay over the last few years, they have gotten gotten raises also. Wilbanks is appointed by the BOE which means he works for them yet, the board is nothing but a bunch of "yes" men and women for him. Now throw in the fact that the person in charge of land acquisition has been paying more for land than he should have (AJC) and maybe we have a better picture of the state of money within GCPS. A lot of these deals were on the same day that the person GCPS bought from actually closed on their deal to buy the property and then sold to GCPS for considerably more. Oh, I forgot, a panel hired by GCPS found no wrongdoing in the land acquisitions...The key here is that the panel was hired by GCPS. Interesting. If Wilbanks is really worried about the money situation in GCPS maybe he should take a pay cut (he actually makes more than the governor - you can check his pay too) or even better resign before an AJC investigation finds that he and the land guy were taking kickbacks.


Dubbin 3 years, 6 months ago

I bet you could get rid of 50% of the non-teaching positions and everything would run better. I feel for those in the classroom who actually teach, but all the managerial leeches do nothing to better education. Put the money in the classroom and cut the overhead. It works for business and it would work for schools.


Gwinnettsince1991 3 years, 6 months ago

The problem with the bloated ISC is this: Admnistrators have to take classes and earn a degree/certification to be assistant principals, principals and eventually central office staff. Imagine the business world where only those with degrees in management were allowed to manage. This is what is wrong with the system.

We don't have the best and brightest in these leadership roles, we have those who fleed the classroom and in many cases cannot communicate with their peers, which was why they left the classroom and the students and parents. And yet, they set the agenda.

I know many fine administrators, however, they system is terrible; the budget is terrible and any CEO would be fired for consecutive defecits and not increasing his employees pay; see Kodak for an example of a company that did not adapt- and that doesn't mean throwing money at a problem.


Mack711 3 years, 6 months ago

The question is how do we, the taxpayer, get these folks out of office? In your CEO example that is exactly what happens in the business world, however this is not the business world. Should we continue in the same manner our education process will suffer. If not mistaken Alvin Wilbanks makes as much if not more than Obama. you have to ask why? Any one have the answer, please post. Paycuts start from the top down in the business world, not the bottom up!


jeepintodd 3 years, 6 months ago

It is like the business world. The taxpayers are the same as the share holders who elect the board. The board then elects the CEO of the business/superintendent of the schools. When the voters starting educating themselves before voting and actually show up to vote then things will change.


HonestIngine 3 years, 6 months ago

So very true... Most people do not bother to vote and as long as people have this apathy, there will be no changes.


Ashley 3 years, 6 months ago

Those who can't teach; work at the ISC. Unfortunately and make a lot of money.


OutofMoney 3 years, 6 months ago

I will be the first to say that the school systems education is one of the best if not the best, but it is not due to all the high level positions at the ISC, or even all the other levels from all the support staff. Which by the way, most if not all who do not have a degree, are paid more than the teachers.

Give the credit where the credit is due. THE TEACHERS. These teachers are so good at what they do they know how to teach. WHy should the teachers have to pay out of pocket for supplies, while the ISC and Director level salaries continue to increase, Put the money in the TEACHERS and not the excessive support staff.


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