- Evoline C. West
FCS FY2022 Budget Update: April 30, 2021
April marked an important step in the annual budget process for Fulton County Schools (FCS) as Superintendent Mike Looney and Chief Financial Officer Marvin Dereef brought forth the superintendent’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2021-22, beginning July 1, 2021. The April presentation provided updated numbers to include the final state budgeted amounts. Due to increased revenues, state funding has improved above original projections. Therefore, we are in a better financial position than previously anticipated.
Following the School Board directed budget parameters approved in November 2020, Mr. Dereef provided an outline of the goals for the next year. A 550 page detailed book for the FY2022 Tentative Budget is available on the FCS website.
Dereef explained FCS has a projected revenue of $1.443 billon with proposed expenditures of $1.613 billion. Due to a history of strong financial management of district resources and taxpayer funds, FCS has the ability to address the shortfall with a combination of funds, including reserves and a portion of the recently approved CARES Act money.
As reported in the April 16 Community Update:
Seventy-nine percent of the $1.088 billion general fund budget is allocated directly to schools, with 65% devoted to instruction and the remaining 35% budgeted for pupil transportation, maintenance and operations, and other functions. The proposed budget also recommends keeping the millage rate the same for the third consecutive year, maintaining the school board’s commitment to low property taxes. At 17.796, the combined millage rate continues to be the lowest in the metro Atlanta area.
The proposed budget focuses instructional support, particularly employee compensation, to ensure that schools are staffed with the most qualified teachers and support personnel. A 2% raise is proposed for all employees in the district, who would also receive a step increase as they transition to the new budget year. The budget puts focus on appropriately aligning funding to personnel and programs. The Board also authorized a one-time payment of $1,000 for full-time staffers and $500 for part-time employees to be paid on April 30. This retention incentive is paid primarily by state funding with a local supplement to ensure all staff are covered. An additional proposal includes a one-time hiring and retention incentive to special education paraprofessionals.
Of special note, FCS is receiving more than $168 million dollars from the latest round of federal funding in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to help schools recover from COVID-19. Combined with the CARES I ($18 million), CARES II ($75 million), and smaller related CARES grants, this is the largest grant funding source for FCS. Click here for more information on how the district plans to disburse this federal funding.
Concluding the presentation, Mr. Dereef indicated the district is well positioned for long-term financial stability. The proposed budget has no bond debt and includes over two-months of operating reserve that allows the district to be prepared for unforeseen situations.
Public involvement provides a critical perspective for making decisions. We encourage the public to attend upcoming hearings on the proposed budget on May 4 and May 13. A vote to adopt the budget is scheduled for June 8.
More details on the proposed budget are posted on our website, located at fultonschools.org.