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Decatur School Board considers senior homestead exemption committee, 2021 budget

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Decatur School Board considers senior homestead exemption committee, 2021 budget

The Decatur School Board met on Feb. 11. From left to right: Jana Johnson-Davis, Heather Tell, Lewis Jones, Superintendent David Dude, Tasha White and James Herndon. Photo by Sara Amis
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By Sara Amis, contributor 

Decatur, GA – City Schools of Decatur Superintendent David Dude presented a tentative 2021 budget at the Feb. 11 school board meeting.

The budget includes the pay raise for teachers proposed by Gov. Brian Kemp.

“The $2000 pay raise for all teachers announced by the governor would bring us about one million dollars,” said Dude.

Changes from previous versions include $5 million assigned from the fund balance in order to bring it down to 13.6 % of the total budget in accordance with board policy. Potential uses for that money include a capital improvement fund or as a backup if the governor’s plan to raise teacher salaries is not approved. CSD would be able to give teachers the raise whether or not the state provides it.

“Worst case scenario, if the raise doesn’t go through we would have to take a million dollars out of the fund balance,” Dude said.

Dude said that he hoped to have the budget finalized and approved so that CSD could move forward.

“We plan to start hiring based on that budget,” he said.

The board also discussed a draft of a resolution to form a senior homestead exemption committee. The committee will be charged with designing an exemption that will replace the current one when it expires.  The new exemption must follow constraints on such exemptions under state law and fall within the $1.2 million budget the board has set for it.

Students from the World Language Department at Renfroe Middle School gave presentations in Spanish and French, while the faculty gave a report on the program.  Learning a second language in middle school puts students on track for the International Baccalaureate program, and allows them to begin learning before second language acquisition plateaus at age 14.

Board members congratulated students on the fluency of their presentations.

“This is going to open your horizons, so keep it up,” Board Chair Lewis Jones said.

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