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FY23 Budget Approval Marks Largest HCS Investment in Students

Submission Date: May 10, 2022

Release Date:  For Immediate Release

Contact: J.D. Hardin, 770-957-6601 ext. 01161,

(Release # 0040-05-2022)

FY23 Budget Approval Marks Largest HCS Investment in Students

FY23 Budget Approval Marks Largest HCS Investment in Students

Per-student investment grows by nearly $1,000 over two-year period

HENRY COUNTY, GA – After approving a tentative version of the FY23 budget in April, the Henry County Board of Education unanimously approved the final version of next school year’s budget on May 9, which represents the largest local investment in students in district history.   

Of particular note is the consecutive budgets approved by the board have resulted in its per-student investments increasing by nearly $1,000.  Sitting at a proposal of $10,413 per student for FY23, this figure represents the strongest commitment to teaching and learning in district history.

With state revenues projecting better than originally forecasted, board members took action to address competitive compensation for personnel members across the district, focusing over 97 percent of district expenditures directly on teaching and learning environment operations, while also ensuring key features of the community-inspired five-year strategic plan are supported. 

“When we began to lay out this year’s budget, we were thankful for a more stable and improved fiscal picture than what we have faced in previous years,” said Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis.  “The strong local economy allowed us to advance many of our key initiatives for students while also ensuring our talented and dedicated workforce was compensated at a highly competitive level.”

Chief Financial Officer Shanika Clay was able to provide a few notable updates to the board during her report, one of which included a slight increase to the overall budget compared to the previous month’s report.  Stronger than anticipated state revenues pushed the proposed budget for the 2022-2023 school year to $446.9 million.  The $5 million increase from the previous month’s report is the result of the district receiving preliminary funding guidance from the Georgia Department of Education.

“The passage of this budget is cause for hope and optimism to help our district achieve so much by way of the new strategic plan that our community helped craft,” stated Board Chair Holly Cobb.  “Whether that was uplifting our employees through more competitive compensation or addressing action items detailed in our five-year roadmap known as our strategic plan, everyone can be proud of this budget.”

Cobb’s comments on the action items detailed in the strategic plan point to investments such as the addition of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programming at every elementary school, while also expanding fine arts programs for every middle and high school.  Additionally, robotics and coding programs will be added districtwide.

The board has been particularly focused on investing in its workforce and using a strong compensation package to attract and retain the highest caliber employees.  The approved budget will provide a one percent salary increase for all job families and honors salary steps for employees for years of service, which can mean an additional one to three percent increase.  With all board considerations and actions, some teachers, paraprofessionals, and psychologists stand to see an eight percent increase in their wages.

“Our employees deserve every dollar they earn, and we hope they see that our push to increase their salaries as much as we can is a direct reflection of how much we value their service to the students and families of our school district,” added Vice-Chair Annette Edwards.

Multiple job families across the district, including maintenance workers, school nutrition managers, school nutrition assistants, school data clerks, school office secretaries, school bookkeepers, and other administrative and clerical job families that are related are included in this year’s targeted salary investment increases. 

District 4 Board Member Sophe Pope noted that the district’s budget is reviewed to ensure alignment of goals with spending and to maintain the community’s trust in the board’s fiscal responsibility.

“We hold the trust of a community with the greatest understanding that all we do matches up with expectations of a high-quality education for the future success of students,” shared Pope.  “Our community will see that this budget meets the needs of every student and values every employee in a way that places our district at a competitive advantage when it comes to student opportunities and employee satisfaction.”

After months of planning, reviews, and multiple public hearings on the district’s financial future, District 2 Board Member Makenzie McDaniel sees a sound fiscal future moving forward.

“A balanced budget, the ability to save for unforeseen challenges, and providing opportunities and access to ensure exceptional outcomes for students,” expressed McDaniel, “all add up to a budget we can support and feel confident moves the needle in the right direction for our community.”

As the community has grown, so have the enrollment numbers for the district over the years.  The longest-tenured board member, Dr. Pam Nutt (Dist. 1), is thankful for the community’s support over the years to help the district grow into the model it is today.

“I have seen the school district double in size during my tenure representing District 1,” stated Nutt.  “This process of developing and approving a budget each year is something none of us take lightly.  With the focus always on students and supporting our employees, we have been able to steadily grow into a model district that often sees other communities reaching out to us for guidance and support.  Henry County can be proud of the work of our board, and we’ll always be here to represent the best interests of students and our community.”

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