Coweta School Board gives first approval of 2023-24 School Year Budget
From Coweta County Schools Press Release
The Coweta County Board of Education gave tentative approval to a Coweta County School System operational budget of $276,373,942 for the 2023-2024 fiscal year (FY 2024), at their regular meeting on Tuesday, June 13.
Tuesday’s vote was the first of two formal votes on the new year’s budget, as required by state law. It follows board budget workshops held by the school board in May. The board is expected to give final approval to the new school year’s budget at a called meeting on Tuesday, June 27. Following that final approval, the new budget will take effect for the school system’s new fiscal year beginning July 1.
The FY 2024 budget does not project an increase in the local property tax rate of 16.00 mills. Millage rates for local property taxes are set in July, following the establishment of the local property tax digest by the county tax assessors office. The Board of Education can also adjust school system tax rates for school operations based on the annual property tax digest, once the actual digest is received.
The Board of Education has decreased the school system’s ad valorem millage rate in each of the past three years – to a current 16.00 mill property tax rate set in 2022, down from 17.14 mills in 2021, 17.30 mills in 2020, and 18.59 mills the year before. In addition to these tax rate decreases, the school board also expanded senior citizen tax exemptions through local referendum in 2020. These decreases have left the Coweta County School System with one of the lowest school system tax rates in the metro Atlanta and West Georgia region, and the lowest recorded tax rate for Coweta Schools since the 1980’s.
Information detailing revenues and expenditures in the school system’s FY 2022 budget can be found on the school system’s website at www.cowetaschools.net , under Financial Information (click on the tabs for “Budget Information – FY 2024”).
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 current estimates of local property tax revenue.
The FY 2024 budget approved Tuesday achieves several goals of the school board, including:
- Maintaining the current student calendar of 180 instructional days, and the current instructional program for students for the upcoming year.
- Absorbing increased health insurance costs and retirement costs for certified and classified employees.
- Adding a $2,000 State Base Salary Increase for certified employees.
- Increasing the Coweta County School System’s local supplement for certified teacher’s pay, to maintain the competitiveness of the system.
- Increasing school-based extracurricular supplements.
- Passing on step increases for certified and classified employees, where due, according to pay schedules.
- Adding teachers and support personnel in various positions system-wide in FY 2024, including moving employees covered by temporary ESSER-ARP funding to the school system’s General Fund, and growth positions.
- Other adjustments include moving school nurses and paraprofessionals from a 180-day to a 183-day schedule, to allow for preparation and employee coordination for the 180-day school year, among others.
- Adding the school system’s Georgia’s Best educational program – administered in partnership with the University of West Georgia – to provide continuing education for school system employees.
- Other cost adjustments, including increased insurance costs, additional custodial supplies, increases in per-school allotments, and software purchases, among others.
The FY 2024 General Fund budget of $276 million is funded principally by state revenues and local property tax revenues. The tentative budget approved Tuesday anticipates an overall increase in state funding during the coming fiscal year, and assumes maintenance of the current 16.00 mill local property tax rate with 5.25 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 2024 budget.
These include $42,913,554 in anticipated expenditures through the Special Revenue Fund, which accounts for special federal programs such as Title I, federal lunch programs, and IDEA.
Also included is $78,761,451 in anticipated expenditures through the Capital Projects Fund, which accounts for construction and other capital expenditures during the year. School construction is funded principally by revenues from the Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST), through which the system follows a “pay as you go” strategy for school construction projects. The system also receives some earned state funding for construction. Funding under this line item can fluctuate from year-to-year, depending on the scale of construction projects undertaken by the school system during a given fiscal year, such as the current rebuilding of Newnan High School.
Since the school system has no current debt, no expenditures are required in the system’s Debt Service fund in FY 2024.
Those funds, combined with the maintenance and operation fund, total $398,048,947.
To see more school system budget information, go here. (www.cowetaschools.net, under “Budget, Financial and SPLOST Information). The page provides links to current FY 2024 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.