His proposal includes, among other measures, a reduction of 22 paraprofessionals in the classroom and an increase in the cost to certified employees for insurance, but according to Hinesley, the plan creates a smaller student/teacher ratio by allowing the hiring of two additional kindergarten teachers and maintains other positions in the system.
"It's extremely painful to be put in this position, but our intent is to have the smallest teacher/pupil ratio and the best qualified teachers we can in our schools," Hinesley said. "We would also like to be able to provide [teachers] with support through the role of parapros, but we're not able to afford all the parapro positions we have without going up on the teacher/pupil ratio."
Hinesley met with The Daily Tribune shortly before meeting with employees to discuss the cuts. He said he has provided updates during the planning process to employees.
Regarding positions, Hinesley said he proposes to privatize insurance for all paraprofessional and bus monitoring positions to reduce the overhead cost of state health insurance.
"By privatizing, we will maintain all their salaries with the exception of pre-k because, with pre-k, we're going to have to operate that within parameters of the pre-k allocation," Hinesley said, adding the system will begin soliciting for competitive health insurance companies.
"The employees not a part of the 22 [eliminated positions], they will eligible to work for the placement organization that gets the contract," Hinesley said. "They will get the same salary, we're not reducing the salary, and they will be eligible for the [health insurance] benefits offered from the placement company.
"Any of those people who say, 'I have a better opportunity,' and turn down the job, the next one in line from those 22 [eliminated positions] will be eligible to take their place. The list of 22 is generated by the principal, they're the ones who work with [the paraprofessionals] and so they're the ones who rank them according to their evaluations, their attendance, their observations of their daily jobs -- it doesn't mean that any of them weren't doing a good job, it just means [principals] had to rank them in order to establish a reduction-in-force list."
The city also will centralize the media specialist position for the schools and will hire four media clerks for daily check-ins and check-outs of materials, citing attrition for not having to terminate positions.
"[We'll have] one person purchasing [materials], coordinating, setting up instruction and actually doing instruction at each of the four schools," Hinesley said, adding he hopes this measure is temporary.
Hinesley, as well as Financial Director Richard Dyke, cited the reduction in tax rolls, property values, state and federal funding, and being warned during last week's state superintendents meeting by a federal official to plan for a 7.8 percent to 9.1 percent reduction in federal funding due to ongoing discussions of legislation as factors in the cuts to the system.
He also cited the increase in fuel costs and insurance over the next three years to the school system and the city's increase in the freeport tax at 20 percent over the next four years, which he said the system supports for the long-term goals of attracting businesses to the city.
"This was a tough decision to make, but circumstances brought this to us," Hinesley said. "If we didn't take these kinds of steps, even though we're still walking a tightrope, it would put us in a fairly significant position two years or three years from now being close to having no money in the bank and we can't have that.
"At least $1 million to $2 million of this was not anticipated until November when health insurance hit us, then freeport [tax]."
He said his proposal works within the parameters of the goals for the school system.
"Part of our parameters is we support strongly art, music, we're not cutting art and music. We strongly believe any teacher that's annual contract or tenured with satisfactory performance, that we have them a job, that we not lay them off," Hinesley said. "Our focus is on, in our judgment, the person who makes the biggest impact on the quality of education, and that's the classroom teacher.
"And so we try to protect programs for students and the classroom teacher."
This month, the Cartersville City Board of Education reappointed all classroom teachers.
"In [working with parameters], we've been able to keep positions that otherwise wouldn't be there," Hinesley said.
Through the transition to the seven-period day at the high school and through attrition, Hinesley said the system was able to maintain all teachers, minus three who retired. This includes transferring teachers to other positions at other schools.
"If we hadn't used the attrition model, we could have gotten several more positions, but we would have had to lay off teachers," Hinesley said.
The Daily Tribune News will publish the date the board will vote on Hinesley's proposal when it is established.
"The last eight years, Georgia has through the state formula, there has been $5 billion in eight years taken away from public education in what they call 'austerity cuts,'" Hinesley said. "For us, that's [$11.6 million] we didn't get."
* The school board supports taking $2.6 million from savings for next year.
* Hinesley and Financial Director Richard Dyke cited an expected increase of $800,000 a year for insurance for certified employees in the next three years.
* The system will save about $250,000 by eliminating the payment of $45 for insurance per teacher, per month, placing that burden of pay on the teacher.
* Fuel costs are up. In 2011 the system spent $1.3 million in transportation while receiving $220,355 from the state.
* The system is expecting a 2 percent reduction in the tax roll.