Greg Denney, 47, will be taking over the same position with Douglas County Schools, after that system’s longtime CFO retired in November because of health problems.
“It will be difficult to leave Carroll County’s great system and the great staff we have here,” said Denney. “However, it is a professional step up going to a larger system where I will have more responsibilities and will be able to advance my career.”
Carroll County Schools Superintendent Scott Cowart said Denney has been a “great asset” during his 11-year tenure with the school system.
“Greg’s been a great asset in a number of ways,” Cowart said. “Not only as a CFO, but as just the kind of person you want to have around and who you want to work with.”
As for a replacement, Cowart said Denney has helped identify some names for potential replacements.
In Douglas County, Superintendent Dr. Gordon Pritz is excited to have Denney come on board.
“He’s going to have a lot of very valuable experience that he’ll be able to come right in in mid-year and hit the ground running,” said Pritz. “He’s also coming at a very important time because we’re just getting started with our budget for next year.”
Denney will replace Kay Turner, who was at Douglas County Schools for nine years before retiring in November.
“Kay was an outstanding chief financial officer,” Pritz said. “We feel like in a lot of ways, Mr. Denney is going to come right in and keep us moving in that same direction that Kay did and provide the same type of outstanding leadership that she did.”
Denney said his final day at Carroll County Schools is still up in the air, but plans to serve for three more weeks.
As for the timing of Denney’s departure, Cowart said it is “difficult,” given the system’s recent beginning of the process for the fiscal year 2014 budget.
“The timing is difficult, but it’s a challenge you have to expect when you have good people who other people are interested in,” Cowart said.
Both Cowart and Denney are confident the system will be able to find someone who is experienced and knowledgeable about a budget similar in size to the school system.
“We’re confident we’ll get it done because we have to get it done,” Cowart said. “Our only option is to succeed, so we’re confident that we will.”
Denney said he will be able to help his replacement in the early goings of the job switch, since he will still reside in Carrollton.
He said that the early work the system has done on the budget already has helped.
“We started so early, and it’s mostly done from our department,” Denney said. “We’re just waiting now to see how much in state revenues and the local digest are going to be.”
Denney said the board will have to make the decisions, but he and his replacement will be able to transition smoothly to answer their questions as best they can.
“They shouldn’t have to skip a beat,” Denney said.
The Carroll County Board of Education took its first look at both sides of the budget earlier this month, discovering the system may be facing a steep deficit again.
Last year, the board faced a $7.9 million shortfall, with $5.6 million worth of programs being cut, and $2.3 million coming from the system’s fund equity reserves to balance the budget.
This year, the deficit will probably improve, but not as much as board members had hoped. The “best guess” for the amount of state revenue the system will receive, Denney said, is $6.5 million less than last year.
That number is “totally preliminary,” Denney said, seeing as anything could happen with the state Legislature.
Board Chairman Dr. Jon Anderson charged the system administrative office to create a “cut list” for the board’s February meeting, with $8 million worth of expenditures for the board to consider if Denney’s estimate is correct.
Anderson said a plan for a cutting process was important, since the fund equity will not be as easy to lean on this year as it was last year.
The system will face steep expenditures because of a cut in the equalization grant funds from the state, as well as the rising cost of health insurance for employees, expected to add approximately $900,000 to the expense side of the balance sheet.
Denney said he’s only had two jobs since graduating from college — at the Georgia Department of Audits, where he worked for 13 years, and with Carroll County Schools.
“I’ve worked four miles from home for the past 11 years,” Denney said. “I’m sad to go and sad to leave my staff, since we’ve been together a long time. I hate to leave, but I’m excited to start in Douglas County.”
Ron Daniel of the Douglas County Sentinel contributed to this report.