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Rockdale school board approves final budget

CONYERS -- Rockdale County Public Schools will outsource custodial service next school year due to budget concerns.

This cut will come on top of three staff furlough days, a deferment of textbook purchases and computer replacements and the increasing of class sizes to help balance the budget for the 2012-13 school year.

The Rockdale County Board of Education approved a final budget for next school year during its monthly meeting Thursday.

The board unanimously approved the budget recommended by RCPS that called for all staff maintaining their current rate of pay while outsourcing custodial services and reducing the system's ending fund balance by nearly $2.2 million to make up for expected shortfalls.

Other cuts to the budget included removing three staff days from the calendar to save $1.5 million, suspending the alternative retirement contribution for the third consecutive year to save $3.6 million, deferring textbook purchases for the second consecutive year to save more than $2.7 million, deferring computer and laptop replacements to save more than $1.5 million, increasing class size to eliminate 58 teacher positions to save nearly $3.9 million and eliminating 17 central office positions to save nearly $1 million.

The budget totals $125,495,193, and RCPS is projecting an ending fund balance of more than $8.3 million at the end of next school year, which is slightly less than the state-recommended 7 percent reserves.

RCPS is expecting to receive nearly $64 million in state revenues and more than $59 million in local revenues, as well as about $500,000 from grants and federal revenues.

The system is expecting to spend more than $82 million in instruction, $10 million in school administration and $11.5 million in maintenance and operations, according to the budget summary. Departments like pupil services, instructional services, educational media services, general administration, business services, student transportation and central support services are budgeted between about $2 million and $5 million each.

The school board also approved Thursday using the national company GCA Services Group to provide custodial services for the system.

The board is scheduled to approve a millage rate in July or August, according to its budget calendar, depending when the tax digest is available from the Rockdale County Tax Commissioner's Office.