(Forsyth County, GA) The Forsyth County Board of Education is poised to give some workers a raise.
During Tuesday’s discussion of the 2023 budget, Chief Financial Officer Larry Hammel recommended an hourly rate of $15 an hour for the school system’s employees, such as custodians and cafeteria workers. They currently make between $11.14 to $13.29.
Hammel explained the pay hike is necessary to compete with various retail chains offering a higher hourly rate. The school system also would add a step increase and a 1 percent cost of living adjustment for the employees. Certified employees, such as teachers, are getting a raise of $2,650.
Even with the pay hikes, the school system has no plans to increase the millage rate.
“Local revenue has increased based on the inflation influence on sales. State revenue is steady and will be impacted by the governor’s increase in teacher pay by $2,000 and no austerity cuts for FY23,” Hammel said.
The county’s tax digest grew by more than 20 percent last year. The local tax revenue funds 54 percent of the budget, while the state funds 46 percent.
The projected budget for the Fiscal Year 2023 is $578 million, which is 11.2 percent over the 2022 budget.
Hammel expects 272 positions to be added next year to compensate for growth throughout the County and the opening of New Hope Elementary School.
He recommends keeping the 2022 millage rate of 17.3 mils for maintenance and operation but lowering the bond millage rate from 2.418 to 1.418.
Hammel said the combined millage rate would go back to 2014 levels.
The financial director explained the school system leads the state’s 12 largest systems in the lowest cost per pupil. Forsyth County spends just over $9,800 per student compared to the $18,000 per student cost in the city of Atlanta school system. Hammel said the system has maintained a five-star financial efficiency rating with the state for six consecutive years. He said it would have been eight straight years but the state did not issue ratings during the pandemic.
Final budget approval will happen in June. The budget will go into effect July 1.
Superintendent Dr. Jeff Bearden thanked the staff and noted the budget also reflects the unprecedented growth of more than 600 students in the last few months.
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