Board of Education Approves Tentative Budget for FY23
Submission Date: April 22, 2022
Release Date: For Immediate Release
Contact: J.D. Hardin, 770-957-6601 ext. 01161, email@example.com
(Release # 0039-04-2022)
Board of Education Approves Tentative Budget for FY23
Balanced, student-focused meets expectations of district
HENRY COUNTY, GA – The Henry County Board of Education took action at its April board meetings to approve a tentative FY23 budget, one that remains balanced, student-centered, aligned to the community-inspired five-year strategic plan, and includes increased commitments to personnel and the largest-ever per-student investment for the district.
Surpassing last year’s approved budget, thanks to increased collections from both the state and local tax digests supporting revenues, the proposed budget for the 2022-2023 school year totals $441.9 million, up $32.5 million year over year.
“It’s been well noted in the state and right here in Henry County that the financial picture, including tax revenues, are up and those numbers continue to be strong support for what is viewed as the most important component to a strong and vibrant community, and that is education,” said Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis. “Our board has a commitment to supporting the community-inspired strategic plan by investing in the best resources for our employees and our students and making sure that all of our staff members know how important they are through continued investments in competitive wages and benefits.”
Over the past two years, the board has increased its per-student investments by nearly $1,000. Strong increases in revenue, thanks to a strong local economy, have allowed for greater enhancements to resources directed to support student learning at the highest levels. Sitting at a proposal of $10,297 per student for FY23, this figure represents one of the highest figures in district history.
“The approval of a budget remains one of the main responsibilities of this board, and my colleagues and I are proud to be able to present a balanced budget that meets the needs of our students, staff, and supports the shared vision of the community as articulated in the five-year strategic plan,” said Board Chair Holly Cobb (Dist. 3). “We hold the fiscal responsibility placed in us by the voters in the highest regard. To provide opportunities and access to an exceptional education, we have to have the best employees and the best resources in every school, office, and support service area possible.”
To lead into the budget presentation for the coming year, Chief Financial Officer Shanika Clay updated the board on matters of the current budget, which is projected to end the last quarter of the fiscal cycle on a positive note. With mid-year budget adjustments from the state and a stronger-than-projected local economy, the district will be able to bolster its fund balance, or reserves, thanks to strong fiscal management. The state sets a minimum requirement for districts to hold in reserves, and Henry County Schools has been able to continuously meet and surpass this requirement.
Of note in Clay’s report to the board, Henry County Schools is prepared to pass along the one-time $2,000 pay supplement proposed by Governor Kemp and approved by the state legislators during this year’s legislative session to all employees during the month of April.
The board’s investment in competitive compensation currently proposes an increase to current salary scales by one percent for all employees and honors salary steps of eligible employees for years of service, which can yield an additional one to three-percent increase. Additionally, the recommendation includes investments above the one percent in targeted job families, including additional investments beyond the one percent and step for teachers and paraprofessionals, resulting in an eight percent increase overall. Salary schedules have also been extended for these job families and re-designed to support monetary increases each year a salary step is earned.
Thanks to our community’s strong economy and positive tax digest outlook, the board will be able to also target increases to salaries of administrative support personnel members in schools and district positions, which moves some starting pay rates forward by $2 per hour, representing a minimum percentage increase of seven percent. Additionally, every elementary school will be staffed with a STEM specials teacher to increase the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics opportunities for our youngest learners, and every middle and high school will be staffed with an additional teacher for the purpose of advancing fine arts opportunities for Henry County students.
“Our employees have gone above and beyond the past several years in the face of one of the most challenging times in our profession,” said Board Vice-Chair Annette Edwards (Dist. 5). “Being able to pass along a salary increase and address other compensation and benefits areas is the right thing to do and sends a positive message that we support their work.”
In total, 97 percent of the general fund budget is dedicated to teaching and learning, the school environment, and direct student services.
“We are thankful for the community’s support and hope they understand how much time and effort goes into constructing a budget that meets every need possible with the funding we receive,” said Board Member Sophe Pope (Dist. 4). “This budget will definitely help meet the many expectations that are rightfully placed on our district by the community, families, and students who we serve.”
Clay emphasized in her presentation that the budget recommendation “continues to build upon the board’s FY22 investment actions” and commitments by the board remain intact to “continue progress towards a competitive strategy for all job families.”
The board of education will hold an additional budget hearing at 6:30 p.m. on May 9 before voting to adopt a final budget during their 7 p.m. Business Session on the same date.
Citizens interested in reviewing budget presentations in greater detail can do so by visiting the district’s website. For more information on Henry County Schools, visit www.henry.k12.ga.us.