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FCS Budget Update: February 26, 2021

The annual Fulton County School budget proceedings have been underway for several months, and we want to update our community continuously about the Fiscal Year 2022 planning process. Today’s message is part of a regular series of updates to help our employees, parents and stakeholders become familiar with key dates, milestones, and external considerations.

 

State and Federal Funding
The state legislature is currently reviewing the budget proposal announced by Governor Brian Kemp in January and a final picture of state funding will not be complete until their work is done, which is expected in April.  Additionally, the Governor recommended a $1,000 one-time stipend for teachers and school employees utilizing the Georgia Department of Education’s portion of the federal CARES II funding.  The next step is for the Georgia State Board of Education to approve this recommendation before it comes to the Fulton County Board of Education.  FCS is also considering a $1,000 stipend for non-school based employees and $500 stipend for part-time employees.  Once approved, the stipends could be processed within approximately six to eight weeks and the compensation will be subject to federal and state income tax withholding.

To date, Fulton County Schools has received direct allocations from the first round of CARES funding in the amount of approximately $18 million.  These funds are expected to be expended by the end of the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2021.  FCS has been allocated an additional $75 million to be used by the end of the federal fiscal year in September 2022.  The Board of Education and Superintendent are currently reviewing plans for the use of these funds.

It is important to note federal CARES funds are intended to be supplemental and address needs caused by the COVID-19 crisis.  The uses can include mitigation efforts, like purchasing PPE for employees and students, and address revenue shortfalls. However, going forward, the funds may also be used for recovery efforts, which have been recently described by Dr. Looney and Chief Academic Officer Cliff Jones in our FOCUS plan to address learning loss during the pandemic.

 

Revenue Projections
The Fulton County Tax Commissioner Arthur Ferdinand presented his annual update to the School Board at their February 9 meeting. Dr. Ferdinand shared that school tax collections remain consistent with the previous year, and currently 97 percent of outstanding tax bills have been paid. The remaining collections are expected by June 2021. Since no exemption legislation has been proposed this year, he does not anticipate any negative impacts or setbacks with collecting FY22 taxes.

 

Public Hearings
Public hearings are currently scheduled for May 4, 2021 and May 13, 2021, as community input from Fulton stakeholders is always vital to our budget procedures.

Additional information will continue to be shared with internal and external stakeholders during this year’s annual budget process. Please remain be on the lookout for further communication.