The budget proposed by Superintendent Robert Avossa reflects a 0.6 percent decrease from last year and no increase in millage property taxes, yet includes a 3 percent salary increase for employees and a 10 percent raise in academic and athletic supplements.
“I feel confident that this budget will serve the district’s growing needs and keep our focus on students,” Avossa said. “The school board’s keen fiscal oversight and diligence has made Fulton County Schools one of the most financially stable school systems in Georgia.”
In the tentatively approved budget, instruction — at nearly 67 percent of the general fund — remains the largest allocation of the proposed budget, with the remaining 33 percent budgeted for pupil transportation, maintenance and operations and other administrative functions.
The budget also accommodates for enrollment growth, rising healthcare costs and contributions to the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia, which are major expenditures as well as the salary increase for employees.
No furlough days are included for employees, and if the suggested 18.502 millage rate is approved later this spring by the county commission, there will be no millage increase for homeowners.
Decreased state and federal funding coupled with an increase in local fair share funding have made funds tighter for school systems, and in response, Fulton tightened its belt over the past several years and implemented cost saving measures, such as increased class sizes. However, the fiscal 2014 budget keeps class sizes the same as last year.
The district adopted a new budgeting approach this year that closely aligns funding needs with the district’s priorities.
The fiscal 2014 budget was developed using a process called “modified zero-based budgeting,” which requires that the budget be developed from the bottom up and based on demonstrated need rather than just approving incremental increases or decreases.
The school board is expected to approve the final budget June 4.