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Athens board OKs $27 million budget

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

ATHENS — The Athens City Board of Education approved its $27 million budget Thursday, but the system's support personnel aren't happy about the salary schedule.

Jane Farmer, president of the local support personnel organization, said the board has not addressed concerns of the office aides, computer aides and bookkeepers. Farmer said those staff members have not had an increase in salary, but their job descriptions have changed, giving them more duties.

The aides fall under nine-month teacher assistants who make between $16,343 and $21,489, based on years experience.

The board created a committee in July to address the concerns. Farmer said Superintendent Orman Bridges Jr. gave a day's notice for the committee meeting and two board members could not attend. She said the meeting did not address the concerns.

'Caught off guard'

"Mr. Keenum (board president Larry Keenum) started off the meeting by asking, 'What do y'all want?' " she said. "I felt caught off guard."

Farmer said Finance Director Barry Hamilton told the committee that raising salaries would mean re-advertising for the positions.

She said the meeting ended with nothing resolved, even though a 2004 Auburn University study addressed job descriptions.

"What happened to the committee?" Farmer asked. "I ask that we reconvene and take a comprehensive look at salaries and job descriptions."

None of the board members or superintendent addressed Farmer's comments. They went into an executive session to discuss an employee and a closed meeting for a student hearing after the comments.

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