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Clarke County Board of Ed member to step down in June

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A member of the Clarke County Board of Education is resigning.

District 1’s Greg Davis announced earlier this year that he would not be running for re-election after several terms on the Board of Education. On Thursday night, he told colleagues that he would be stepping down from his post, effective June 1.

Davis cited a number of reasons for his early departure, including his desire to make sure that his successor is involved in the search process for a new superintendent. But, he also sharply criticized district administrators.

"I am beyond frustration with a bloated central office staff that takes away resources that should go directly to the schools," Davis said. "The challenges of treating the emotional [and] social needs of our children and families can only be addressed through school staff interaction day in and day out."

Davis wasn’t the only person at the meeting expressing concerns about a staffing structure that some teachers and parents have characterized as top-heavy and unwieldy. A handful of members of the public also spoke at the meeting, pointing to the district’s administrative structure as an impediment to solving problems with Local School Governance Teams and declining attendance rates.

Board members heard from high-level district staff later in the meeting, as they begin work on next year’s budget. District Chief Financial Officer Byron Schueneman said that explosive growth in home values, and the resulting increase in property taxes, was good news for the district and possibly for property owners as well.

"Our tax digest has really blossomed and grew primarily because of reassessment growth this year," Schueneman said. "So we're looking at more than 15% growth, so the amount that we're going to need to balance our budget is not going to be the whole 15%. So hopefully we can kind of meet the taxpayers in the middle and rollback our mileage rates."

District officials also had potentially good news for teachers and staff. Under the proposed budget, the minimum hourly rate for district employees would jump to $13.32, leading to raises of over 30% for some employees. Teachers could also see a pay hike. The budget proposal aims to raise starting salaries for Clarke County educators from around $40,500 to nearly $44,000 a year.