To meet the needs of Fulton County Schools students & children in the community, the School Nutrition Program will continue to provide nutritious meals across the county as part of its annual Summer Meals Program. (FCS/Facebook)

All employees of Fulton County Schools will get a 5.1 percent raise with the approval of an almost $2.2 billion fiscal year 2024 budget by the board of education.

“And then as a retention effort, there will be a 2 percent, one-time stipend in September. That’s not a permanent pay rate. That’s just a one-time stipend for people who come back in the fall,” FCS spokesperson Brian Noyes said.

He said the school district also had a big increase in the budget to cover a major hike in the required employer contribution to the state health benefits plan. This was not anticipated before January, though the budget process began in October 2022.

“There’s a lot of school districts around the state that are really struggling to come up with that money. Fortunately, the state legislature broke it up into three increases over the next three budget years, but that’s still a lot of money every year that we’re going to have to increase as far as employer contribution towards those health benefits,” Noyes said.

The school district staff, led by Chief Financial Officer Marvin Dereef, added $5 million to maintenance and operations funds at the request of the board and made a 45 percent increase in the safety budget.

The maintenance and operations millage rate was tentatively set to remain at 17.24 mills for the 2023 property tax year, Dereef said.

“There is no millage rate for debt service as we no longer have general obligation bonds. But once again, the final millage rate will be determined in July or August once we receive tax digest information and of course with the school board’s approval,” he said.

Appropriations in the budget, which was approved unanimously by the FCS board, included:

  • General Fund – $1.33 billion
  • School Nutrition Fund – $ 51.5 million
  • Special Revenue Fund – $127 million
  • Capital Program Fund – $612 million
  • Pension Fund – $41 million
  • Student Activity Fund – $13 million

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