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Fulton BOE Approves Fiscal Year 2015 Budget

The $1.41 billion budget holds class sizes steady, funds 178 instructional days for students and includes no furlough days for district staff.

Credit: Patch File
Credit: Patch File

Patch Staff Report

The Fulton County School Board on Tuesday approved the school system's fiscal year 2014-15 budget.

Instruction – at nearly 67% of the general fund – is the largest allocation of the budget while the remaining 33% is budgeted for pupil transportation, maintenance and operations and other administrative functions.

The $1.41 billion budget also keeps class sizes the same, funds one extra day to the school year – from 177 instructional days to 178 days – and increases the per pupil expenditure. It also provides a 3% one-time special payment to employees and includes no furlough days for staff.

“I have to give credit where credit is due,” said Superintendent Robert Avossa. “Our school board has navigated Fulton County Schools through some very difficult financial years, and because of this, our school system is in a sound financial place. They’ve made a commitment to our families and our taxpayers that this budget would be balanced and would provide for our students’ and employees’ needs.” 

Board President Linda Shultz added it good that the district is starting to see the economy beginning to recover. 

“We’re slowly starting to see our revenue trend upward and this is putting us in a better situation to support our students and schools, fund our programs, and reward our employees," she added.

The budget breakdown is as follows: 

  • General fund: $878,343,708
  • School nutrition fund: $41,951,962
  • Debt service fund: $20,538,044
  • Special revenue fund: $48,260,688
  • Capital program fund: $375,103,472
  • Pension fund: $34,196,467
  • Student activity fund: $20,409,149

Last year, Fulton County Schools adopted a new budgeting approach, called “modified zero-based budgeting,” that closely aligns funding needs with the district’s priorities. The FY 2015 budget was developed using this process and it required that the budget be developed from the bottom up and based on demonstrated need rather than just approving incremental increases or decreases.

The school board also held two of three hearings set aside for the public to give their input on the district’s proposed fiscal year 2015 millage rate. Georgia law requires that the public hearings be held when the millage rate is expected to generate a larger tax levy than the prior year.

Chief Financial Officer Robert Morales said that in late May, the Fulton County Tax Commissioner’s Office shared its tax digest, with information indicating that the millage tentatively adopted by the Fulton County School Board is higher than the rollback millage rate.  

In order to generate the same $509 million in tax levy as in the current year, the millage rate next school year would need to be decreased from the current millage rate of 18.502 to 18.342.

This .88% decrease in the millage rate generates the “rollback” millage rate. The rollback millage rate is 18.342; however, the school district intends to keep the millage at its current rate of 18.502.

Only Fulton County taxpayers whose homes have increased in assessed value will see a marginal tax increase. 

A third public hearing on the millage rate is set for Thursday, June 19 at 6:30 p.m.

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