The Oconee County Board of Education approved the FY2017 tentative budget on Monday, April 18. The balanced budget contains a three percent raise for all employees, maintains the current millage rate of 17.0 mills, and funds seventeen new teaching positions, three new bus drivers, and two new custodians. It positions the district well to meet the projected five percent student population growth expected when classes begin on August 3, 2016.
The $63.5 million budget will support a record enrollment of just under 7,500 students and fund over 1,000 employees. At 17.0 mills, the total millage rate remains one of the lowest in Northeast Georgia and reflects the lowest total millage rate for Oconee County Schools in over a decade.
Unfortunately, the tentative budget once again includes a state austerity reduction equal to $95 per student or over $700,000 for FY2017. Austerity reductions are moneys earned by the school system, but not provided by the state. Total state austerity reductions since 2003 equal $37.6 million, which would fund the local portion of OCS school expenditures for one year.
A breakout of tentative budget information, costs, and considerations are listed below:
Tentative Budget Information:
· Maintains one of the lowest millage rates in Northeast Georgia (17.0)
· Provides a 3% pay increase for all employees ($1,200,000)
· Maintains step increases for all certified staff ($450,000)
· Provides 17 new teaching positions; 3 bus drivers; 2 custodians ($1,800,000)
· Includes classified healthcare cost increases ($325,000)
· Provides a daily rate increase for substitute teachers ($100,000)
· Maintains 180-day academic calendar (restored in FY15)
· Revenues match expenditures (Balanced Budget)
Tentative Budget Considerations:
· The tax digest is projected to increase 5%, but remains at 2008 levels
· State austerity reductions equal $95 per student for a total of $706,193
· Total state austerity reductions since 2003 equal $37.6 million
· Classified employer healthcare costs increased $100 per employee/per month
· Classified employer healthcare costs have increased $2.1 million in the last six years
· Teacher retirement employer costs have increased $1.5 million in the last six years
The information listed above is a summary of the total tentative budget for FY2017. The budget presentation provided to the board of education can be found at the school system website (www.oconeeschools.org) and provides greater detail about expenditures and revenue. It is important to note that schools are a people business with student academic success as our foundation. The budget you see before you reflects expenditures of 90% personnel and 10% operational costs. Additionally, 76% of the budget can be found supporting direct instruction to our students. The adoption of the final budget is scheduled for May 9, 2016.