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RCPS not expecting staff cuts
School system officials remain cautious about future funding

CONYERS - After preparing for the worst in terms of budgeting earlier this school year, officials at Rockdale County Public Schools now don't expect to cut any staff for the upcoming school year.

At its monthly work session Thursday, RCPS Chief Financial Officer Lee Davis told the Board of Education that a reduction in force is not expected to be needed during the 2010-11 school year.

He qualified that prediction Friday saying, "Unless something else happens" with the state legislature.

Davis said after "a lot of real hard work by principals and cabinet members," budget plans now require a reduction of about 20 paraprofessionals, instead of the expected 74 paraprofessionals and possibly other staff that they originally thought in January.

"The worst case scenario is obviously much better," Davis said.

The school system expects to be able to reassign those paraprofessionals into other positions that become available due to attrition - retirements or resignations by current employees at the end of this school year. Davis said the schools may need to reassign paraprofessionals into full-time substitute teacher positions, which still retain salary and benefits, until the school system is financially able to put them back into a paraprofessional position or another position in which they are interested.

"We still remain fiscally sound," King said Thursday. "It's just a modified process."

In fact, the school system has a need to hire some positions this school year because of normal anticipated turnover figures.

Rockdale County Public Schools will hold its own job fair from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 6 at Rockdale Career Academy, 1064 Culpepper Drive in Conyers. The school system also regularly advertises for open positions at www.teachgeorgia.org.

"We'll have slots that need to be filled," Davis said, adding that he doesn't know exactly how many yet because contracts haven't been sent out.

Although they don't expect to reduce the work force next school year, system officials continue to be cautious. Davis said they are keeping an eye on the current legislative session, which could take away more expected funding for local school systems.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.