FCS Superintendent Mike Looney attended the State Senate committee meeting on Education promoting FCS Every Child Reads literacy program in February. (FCS/Facebook)

Fulton County Schools projects a 3% growth in the tax digest as the school district prepares its fiscal year 2024 budget, but it will be accompanied by an increase it must pay to the state as its “local fair share.”

FCS Chief Financial Officer Marvin Dereef presented the school board during its work session on March 14 with a preliminary general fund revenue forecast.

An increase in the school district’s local fair share would reduce how much it gets back from state funding in Quality Basic Education (QBE) earnings, he said. His report said that FCS receives 5% of the state QBE earnings, but it contributes 9% of the state local fair share.

“We’re projecting to gain $20 million in property tax but we’re looking to lose roughly $24 million as it relates to the local fair share,” Dereef said.

Expenditures also will rise with an increase in the State Health Benefit Plan employer contribution rate, he said. The monthly health insurance rate FCS pays per certified employee will increase from $945 to $1,580.

He said the state must finalize its FY2024 budget and the Fulton County Tax Commissioner must provide additional tax digest information before revenue projects can be finalized.

FCS forecasts $1.2 billion in general fund revenue for the next fiscal year, which is an increase of $19.1 million from fiscal year 2023, according to Dereef’s report to the school board.

Budget presentations will continue at March and April school board meetings, with public hearings scheduled on May 9 and May 18. A tentative millage rate and budget are expected to be approved on May 18, with the budget adoption scheduled for June 6.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.