Atlanta Public School Board of Education passes FY15 Budget – vote 6-3


[Correction – this post was accidently posted  twice and the vote total was incorrect in one of the versions. The post below was the second – and correct version. I am not sure how it happened – sorry for any confusion.]

The Atlanta Public School’s Board of Education passed the FY15 Budget which calls for $633 million in revenues and $658 million in spending and relies on the use of $25 million in General Fund reserves. The vote was 6-3 with Board members Nancy Meister, Jason Esteves and Steven Lee dissenting.

The adopted budget, excluding the $49 million pension liability [payments], spends $12,183 per traditional school student versus $11,410 during the current year – a $773 or 6.8% increase.

The Board anticipates that it will work closely with the new superintendent to develop a revised budget in the near future.

The adopted budget includes the following increases in expenditures as compared to the FY14 Amended Budget:

  • $12.2 million for salary increases for teachers and other staff and the elimination of any furlough days and $2.8 million for related employee benefits
  • $3.4 million in lower expenditures for classroom instruction
  • $1.6 million for fine arts
  • $4.3 million for the Exceptional Children’s Program
  • $1.3 million for physical education programs
  • $1.2 million for remedial education programs
  • $4.0 million to fund Student Support Teams to address at risk children
  • $2.2 million for in-school administration functions
  • $1.5 million for additional central office school administration spending
  • $2.4 million for transportation services and an additional $0.6 million for other operations and facilities departments
  • $5.5 million for Information Technology infrastructure, which includes $825 thousand for the development of the Atlanta Virtual School
  • $26.0 million increase in funding for charter schools (as mandated under law) due to higher revenues and increased charter school enrollment

[Follow me on Twitter @Financial_Decon]

4 Responses to Atlanta Public School Board of Education passes FY15 Budget – vote 6-3

  1. Carolyn Wood says:

    Robert,

    Thanks for this information. During discussion, did any Board member raise any issue with the fact that the proposed teacher raises exclude any teachers who pursued and earned advanced degrees during the past two years? These teachers made lateral moves to a different pay scale, and any pay increase they received was through the state as a result of that certification. They did not receive any pay raise from APS and yet are excluded from the budgeted pay raise. I would love to know if there was any discussion of this issue.

    Thanks,

    Carolyn Wood

    • Carolyn – there was extensive discussion on the issue you raise – please refer to the Talk Up APS Live Blog for the detail. However, it is important to correct one misconception. The State does not pay for a raise related to earning an advanced degree – APS pays the raise to the teacher directly. And while the QBE state funding will increase as a result of increasing teachers Training and Experience (T&E), the amount of the increase in State funding is well below the amount of the increases that APS gives to a teacher with an advanced degree. As a general matter, the State funds approximately 25% of teacher salaries and benefits. Bob

  2. Carolyn says:

    Thanks for responding, Bob. In my question I did not mean to imply that I thought their salary was being paid by the state. My only point is that the teachers who pursued and received advanced degrees did not get a “raise,” and therefore should not be excepted from the budgeted APS raises. Instead, those teachers were reclassified due to additional training.

    Do you know the financial impact of including the excepted teachers in the upcoming raise? My guess is that this is a very affordable issue to correct.

    Thanks for any additional information.

    Carolyn Wood

    • Carolyn – sorry if I misunderstood your original comment. First, as a point of clarification, every APS employee is getting either a pay raise, a one time bonus payment or a combination of both. Additionally, the administration is categorizing employees on the basis of whether or not they received a “salary action” in the past two years. For more on what this means, go the post at
      http://wp.me/p2rXqA-NP. As shown in the schedule in the post, the administration did not break out teachers from the rest of the categories, so an exact estimate on the cost of incremental compensation for the teachers you are referring to is not possible. However, for the 2179 employees that have had a “salary action” in the last two years, adding a 2.8% increase would amount to $3.6 million. I had heard (but not verified) that the teachers represented approximately 60% of this group and the incremental cost would be approximately $2.1+ million. The Board requested that the administration go back and prepare different scenarios than the one published in the post – I am not sure when the alternative scenarios will be reviewed. However, I do know that there is a $15 million cap – so if dollars get moved around to address the issue above, it will be taken from other categories. Thanks. Bob

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