Dallas County Schools discuss debt

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 26, 2004

The subject of finance and debt came up once again during the Dallas County School Board’s Monday night meeting after representatives from the Alabama Education Association requested pay raises for the system’s support staff.

Local AEA Vice President Judy Kyser made a second attempt to urge the board to increase the pay of support staff members, who she says are earning wages below the poverty level.

Kyser also recommended the board hire a grant writer in order to find the funding for support staff.

Email newsletter signup

Superintendent Wayne May reiterated that the school system has already committed

$1.25 million annually to a debt service for an existing bond issue and has to come up with a $1.8 million balloon payment in 2007.

May said he could not recommend to the board that they increase pay for support staff, but he is trying his best to find a way to get funding from the state level.

“This administration enthusiastically supports a pay raise for support employees of the Dallas County Schools,” May said. “I am currently taking a leadership role in preparing a board resolution to support a state funded increase.

This resolution will be recommended at our January board meeting and sent to our legislative delegation, legislative committees, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and other key leaders throughout the state.

We know that 62 percent of all growth dollars will be applied to state across-the-board raises.”

May cited examples of other Alabama school systems in similar financial straits that approved across-the-board pay raises this year and were taken over by the State Department of Education.

“The Cherokee County Board of Education’s newly elected superintendent recently inherited a situation where the defeated superintendent recommended a salary increase for support workers that the system could not afford,” May said. “As a result of this action the Cherokee Board of Education is now experiencing a financial crisis simply because they never had the revenue to fund the support raise.”

May said his main priority is to ensure the State Department of Education does not take over the school system.

“To do that, we have to overcome existing local financial problems of inherited budget problems, proration problems, and child count losses,” he said.

Other items on the board’s agenda included:

* appointment of Ollis Grayson as Chairman and Bill Minor as Vice Chairman.

* Approval to hire a baking investment firm to assist school board in reducing annual debt payments.

* Approval of early dismissal on Nov. 24.