The Coweta County Board of Education gave tentative approval to an operational budget of $209,162,335 for the 2019 fiscal year.
The tentative FY 2019 budget provides a one percent raise to school system employees, and does not project an increase in local property tax rates. The Board of Education has maintained an 18.59 mill property tax rate since first setting it in the summer of 2004.
Charts detailing revenues and expenditures in the school system’s FY 2019 budget accompany this article. Tuesday’s vote was the first formal vote on the new year’s budget. Final approval is expected by the board at a called meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26.
The school system operates on a fiscal year that extends from July 1 until June 30 of the following year. The budget covers school system operations and other expenditures during the upcoming fiscal year. It is also based on revenue estimates including anticipated state educational funding during the upcoming year and local property tax revenue.
The FY 2019 budget approved achieves several goals of the school board, including:
- Maintaining the current student calendar of 180 instructional days, and the current instructional program for students.
- Providing a 1 percent cost-of-living raise for certified and classified school system employees.
- Providing step increases for certified and classified employees, where due.
- Fully funding an increase in the school system’s contributions to the state Teacher Retirement System.
- Providing a 15 percent increase in bus driver pay.
- Adding 10 additional teaching positions system-wide, and setting aside funding to provide for School Resource Officers at all schools, among other items.
The FY 2019 General Fund budget of $209 million is funded principally by state revenues and local property tax revenues. The budget approvedTuesday anticipates an overall increase in state funding during the coming fiscal year, and maintenance of the current 18.59 mill local property tax rate with 4.5 percent in anticipated growth in the local tax digest. The General Fund budget includes the largest portion of funding for instruction and pupil services, maintenance and operation of schools, transportation, and other operational costs.
In addition to the General Fund, there were three other components tentatively approved by the board as a part of its total FY 2018 budget.
These include $23,396,081 in expenditures from Special Revenue Funds, which accounts for special federal programs such as Title I, federal lunch programs, and IDEA.
Also included is $ 46,327,148 in expenditures from Capital Projects Funds, which accounts for construction and other capital expenditures during the year. School construction is funded principally by Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) revenues. The system also receives some state funding for construction.
Since the school system retired all outstanding bonds in 2013, no expenditures are required in the system’s Debt Service fund in FY 2019.
Those funds, combined with operations funds, total $ 278,885,564. The new fiscal year’s budget, if approved June 26, will take effect on July 1.
To see more budget information presented at two public budget workshops preceding Tuesday’s vote, go here (www.cowetaschools.net, under “Budget, Financial and SPLOST Information). The page provides links to current FY2019 revenue and expenditure detail, and also includes several years of school system budget information, millage history, tax digest information, school system annual audit reports and annual ESPLOST reports.