Cobb schools proposing balanced budget calling for employee raises, end to furlough days, class size reduction

Cobb school officials are aiming to decrease classroom sizes, increase employee pay and end furlough days as part of the district’s nearly $890 million proposed budget for the next school year.

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa’s recommended budget represents a complete turnaround for Georgia’s second-largest school system, which had faced a nearly $79 million budget deficit.

Now school district leaders are presenting a balanced budget, which proposes a 1 percent pay raise for teachers and other employees. It also recommends the hiring of some 200 teachers to reduce class sizes as well as an end to furlough days. Students would be back to a full-time, 180-day calendar under the proposed budget.

“This is good news,” said longtime school board member David Banks during a school board meeting Monday morning, where the proposed budget was presented. “It’s amazing what can change… I think the community will be very pleased with what we’ve done.”

To make up for the deficit, the school system is getting about $35 million more in state funding from the governor’s budget, in addition to about $20 million extra in local property tax revenues. The district is also spending about $20 million less this year, largely because of a hiring freeze.

The district is also proposing to dip into its rainy day reserve fund for nearly $15 million as part of the proposed budget.

School board leaders are expected to formally vote on the proposed budget later this month.

By Rose French
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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