The Newnan Times-Herald

Local

$196 million school budget gets tentative approval


  • By Rebecca Leftwich
  • |
  • Jun. 17, 2017 - 10:39 AM

The Coweta County Board of Education tentatively approved a 2018 General Fund budget of more than $196 million, which includes a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for school system employees, at its regular June meeting.
 
A final vote will be held at a called meeting on June 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the school system offices, 237 Jackson St. in Newnan.
 
The 2018 budget is about 4 percent higher than the budget for the current fiscal year, and no property tax increase is expected. The board has maintained an 18.59 mill property tax rate since setting it in the summer of 2004. 
 
The General Fund budget – primarily funded by state and local property tax revenues – anticipates an increase in state funding as well as 3 percent growth in the local tax digest. It funds instruction and pupil services, maintenance and operation of schools, transportation, and other operational costs. 
 
The tentatively approved budget also includes all federal funding, including Title I, federal lunch programs and special education.
 
Approximately $1 million has been set aside for up to 19 new teaching positions after an uptick in enrollment last spring to help the school system prevent overcrowding in classrooms should a similar swell occur next year.
 
“If we do not need to fill all of the 19 budgeted teaching positions, we will not fill them,” Superintendent Steve Barker said during a budget workshop session.
 
The budget provides for 180 instructional days and maintains all current instructional programs, step raises and expansion of the Communities in the Schools program. 
 
Salaries and benefits make up about 91 percent of the budget – approximately $177 million – with operating expenses such as utilities, fuel, instructional supplies, regular maintenance and insurance rounding out the remainder of the expenses.
 
Capital projects, which are funded through a combination of special local taxes designated for education and state funds, are not part of the school system’s regular budget. Cowetans voted in March to extend the ESPLOST for another five years.
 
The new budget, pending approval June 27, will take effect July 1.