This week, the Fulton County Board of Education gave final approval to a $1.1 billion total operating budget for the 2012-13 school year.
The budget keeps class sizes the same and also provides funding for an anticipated 700 additional students and the teachers, support staff and equipment needed for the replacement Banneker High School in College Park and new Cambridge High School in Milton opening in August.
It does not include any staff reductions or furlough days for employees, and if the suggested 18.502 millage rate is approved, there will be no millage increase for homeowners. Although the budget doesn’t provide a salary increase, earlier this year employees were granted a one-time payment ranging from $250 to $1,000.
Instruction – at nearly 68 percent of the general fund – remains the largest allocation of the budget, with the remaining 32 percent budgeted for pupil transportation, maintenance and operations, and other administrative functions. Decreased state and federal funding coupled with an increase in local fair share funding have made funds tighter for school systems, and in response, Fulton tightened its belt over the past several years and implemented cost-saving measures, such as increased class sizes. However, the FY2013 budget keeps class sizes the same.General Fund $814,091,605 School Nutrition Service Fund $41,750,894 Debt Service Fund $24,379,349 Special Revenue Fund $50,593,932 Capital Program Fund $192,798,921 Student Activity Fund $19,554,118 Total All Funds $1,143,168,819
“I need to applaud the school board for this budget,” said Superintendent Robert Avossa. “They had the courage to make the tough decisions early on. Their conservative approach over the years has put us in a better place than other school systems. We were able to weather the storm, and now we can continue our focus, which is to improve academic achievement.”