Bartow County’s school board will give the public a final say on its proposed 2020 budget Monday, June 10.

The public hearing on the budget is set for 5:30 p.m. at the Bartow County Board of Education headquarters at 65 Gilreath Road in Cartersville.

Board members then are set to consider final adoption of the budget June 24 at 6 p.m. at the same location. The 2020 budget year begins July 1.

The school system is proposing a 5 percent increase in overall spending in its tentative 2020 budget and a 6.3 percent increase in spending in the budget’s General Fund part.

Bartow County School Board voted May 20 to approve the tentative 2020 budget totaling $184.3 million for all funds, up from $175.8 million in 2019.

The budget’s General Fund includes all areas except food service, capital projects, debt service and grant funding. It is proposed to increase from $122.5 million to $130.3 million.

A proposed $750 pay supplement for all school system employees is being funded by $1.6 million the school system added to reserves, partly from the sale of surplus computers and property this year, said Chief Financial Officer Megan Brown.

The $1.6 million came from the sale of some surplus MacBook computers; the sale of land in Taylorsville and Red Top Mountain; and some budget adjustments, she told school board members May 20.

A pay raise of $3,000 per teacher given by Gov. Brian Kemp this year will be funded with a $4.3 million increase in state funding, she said.

However, the budget increase is needed to pay for increasing employee retirement and health insurance costs, step increases for some employees, and salary adjustments designed to make the system more competitive with neighboring systems, Brown said.

The school system is proposing to add 16 additional employees, including 10 teachers, five paraprofessionals for exceptional education, and one high school assistant principal in the 2020 budget, she said.

The additions will increase total employees to 1,748, of which 127 are hired through Ashton Staffing.

Hiring parapros, clerical staff and bus monitors through the agency saves the school system up to $20,000 per employee annually because it does not pay the employee’s health insurance and other benefits, Brown said.

She added she will not know the property tax rate needed to generate about 40 percent of the revenues in the General Fund part of the budget until later this summer when final tax digest numbers come in. The current rate is 18.85 mills.

However, Brown said she was “hoping to see” an increase from 5% to 8% in the tax digest, which is the total assessed value of all taxable property in the county.

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