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Cobb School Board Approves FY2015 Budget

First positive forecast in several years; class sizes reduced and no furlough days.

The new budget includes no furlough days, a 1 percent partial salary restoration and provides for full step pay increases for eligible employees. Courtesy CCSD
The new budget includes no furlough days, a 1 percent partial salary restoration and provides for full step pay increases for eligible employees. Courtesy CCSD
From Cobb County Schools

The Cobb County Board of Education approved a $900 million balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2015 during its May 29, 2014 meeting, funding a full 180-day school year and adding more than 300 teachers to reduce class sizes district-wide.

The new budget includes no furlough days, a 1 percent partial salary restoration and provides for full step pay increases for eligible employees. A boost in both state funding and additional local property tax revenue helped bolster a more positive financial outlook for the 2014-2015 school year. Fiscal Year 2015 begins July 1, 2014 and runs through June 30, 2015.

The FY2015 General Fund budget anticipates $862,429,012 in revenue and $900,243,511 in expenditures, based on an anticipated student enrollment of 111,459 (including two charter schools, the Devereux Ackerman Academy and Pre-Kindergarten).

Following several years of declining state and local revenue that resulted in cuts in personnel, salary reductions and furlough days, the FY2015 budget represents a much brighter fiscal outlook as revenues have returned to the positive.

The General Fund budget includes significant boosts to the district's two main sources of revenue – an additional $20.1 million from the state and $21.3 million in local property taxes – both a product of an improving economy. The budget also includes more than $13 million in carryover "lapse" funds that were budgeted for the current fiscal year but were not spent due to frugal management.

Finally, to balance the budget the school board approved using at least $24.6 million in reserve funds, which still leaves the district with more than $95 million in fund balance, safely above the recommended one-month’s operating reserve.

The additional teachers that will be hired will help reduce class sizes by approximately one student on average across the district.

"Reducing class sizes has been a top priority for the school board," said Board Chair Kathleen Angelucci. "We have heard from parents that class sizes are a significant concern, and we agree. The additional revenue this year has allowed us to reverse the trend of growing class sizes. We’ll be able to hire 300 or more additional teachers and begin the process of lowering the student-to-teacher ratio in all of our schools."

With the new budget, the school board also approved a 1 percent pay raise for all school district employees that partially restores a 2 percent pay cut that occurred in 2010. With no furlough days, the 2014-2015 school year will be the first complete 180-day school year since 2009-2010.

The school board also approved setting aside $5 million to go toward the future rebuild of an elementary school in south Cobb that will address the needs of the Harmony-Leland and Clay elementary communities. The timeline and remaining funding for that project will be determined at a later date. Finally, the newly approved budget includes funds to hire additional administrators at 15 schools, as well as additional police officers to enhance school safety.

Detailed information and documentation about the approved Fiscal Year 2015 budget and development process are available under the Finance and Budget section of the District website.



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