Officials consider pay raises for upcoming budget

JONESBORO — Pay raises for Clayton County Public Schools employees? It is a possibility.

Officials said employees have not had pay raises in nearly seven years save for this year’s 1-percent bonus.

Superintendent Luvenia Jackson said finance officers are studying proposals for next year’s budget and employee pay raises are included in the options they are considering.

Jackson made the announcement during Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

The board is expected to hear a couple of options at its next work session April 28.

Business Services Director Lonita Evans said the finance department’s goal is to offer additional compensation to employees in both its budget proposals.

She said the compensation is partly contingent upon state funding.

Gov. Nathan Deal, who faces re-election this year, proposed spending more on K-12 education. He announced during his State of the State address in January that he would put $8 billion into next year’s K-12 budget.

“My proposal represents the largest single-year increase in K-12 funding in seven years,” said Deal. “That’s an addition of $547 million, an increase of over half a billion dollars in one year for our local school systems.”

The budget restores some funding to school districts which have experienced perennial state funding cuts in the millions since 2003. Clayton County Public Schools experienced $32 million in cuts this fiscal year, 2014.

Evans anticipates that, based on the governor’s budget proposal, the district could recoup about $9 million from the cuts.

She said that additional funding, coupled with a growing tax digest, is helping drive proposals to provide more compensation to school employees.

Evans said pay raises would increase the district’s annual expenditures.

However, she noted that expenditures in this year’s general operations budget rose from about $352 million to $358 million but remained below the district’s revenues. She expects this coming year will be no different.

In other action, the board unanimously approved its consent agenda, which included reports and updates on purchasing, financial, SPLOST IV revenues, personnel changes and SPLOST construction.

Members also unanimously approved the priority list for its Five-Year Facility Plan, which must be approved by the state. The list is topped by schools district officials believe would need to be newly-constructed or renovated first, with newer schools falling lower on the list.

Find the priority list at the board’s eboard meetings page at www.clayton.k12.ga.us.