In Gwinnett, we like to say that the district’s annual budget reflects an investment in Gwinnett’s schoolchildren, staff, and community. Some late-breaking budget news just two days before the end of the legislative session has given the district some extra funding to invest.
On March 26, Gov. Nathan Deal amended his initial budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY2019) by increasing the revenue estimate for the state budget. In conjunction with this increase, he also amended the expense budget recommendation by adding $167 million statewide to fully fund the Quality Basic Education (QBE) formula— the formula used to determine funding for the state’s school districts. The fully funded QBE formula means that, for the first time in 16 years, Georgia districts will not feel the pinch from austerity cuts originally put in place during lean financial times. The governor’s amended budget will provide an additional $17.4 million in funding for GCPS in FY2019.
During a public budget work session on April 12, the Board was briefed on recommendations for the additional state funds and adopted a tentative budget. The budget process continues into May. Public hearings are scheduled May 10 and May 17, with final adoption of the budget on May 17 and final adoption of the millage rate in June. In terms of local funding, the property tax digest is expected to grow by 3.1%, resulting in an increase of $17 million in local property tax revenue. The proposed budget does not recommend an increase in the property tax millage.
- The Recommended Budget calls for a total budget of $2.193 billion.
- The proposed General Fund (77.8% of budget) funds day-to-day operations of the school district.
- For the 2018-19 school year, GCPS will receive an additional $54.1 million in state funding, including funding for projected growth in student enrollment, the state-funded portion of teacher salary increases, health insurance costs for additional certified employees, and state-funded increases in employer contribution for teacher retirement. This additional funding includes the $17.4 million gain from Gov. Deal’s amended budget.
- For FY2019, GCPS must account for increases in the area of employee salary and benefits, including the addition of 128 teacher/instructional support positions to accommodate expected enrollment growth of 1,054 students and the opening of the new Paul Duke STEM HS in Norcross.
- Increases in employer benefit costs will add approximately $52.8 million in expenses for the district. These include employer contributions to retirement plans (local and state) as well as increased state health insurance premiums for more than 6,200 non-certified employees.
- The FY2019 budget includes a 2.25% cost-of-living increase for all full-time employees as well as a salary step increase for all eligible staff. Nearly all current teachers (96%) are expected to get a salary step increase.
- Other improvements include funding for 10 additional School Resource Officers and more technology support positions, a pay increase for substitute paraprofessionals, funding to establish a Junior Achievement Academy at Parkview HS, expansion of the Community-Based Mentoring Program to serve Hispanic students, and additional support for special education, psychological services, and curriculum and instruction.