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Decatur School Board discusses $96 million budget for 2024

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Decatur School Board discusses $96 million budget for 2024

The City Schools of Decatur School Board listens to online public comment during its regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. The meeting was held both in person and virtually through Zoom. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Decatur, GA — The City Schools of Decatur School Board, at its March 28 meeting, discussed the fiscal year 2024 budget. The budget for 2024 has increased by about $8 million compared to the current budget. 

CSD has projected receiving $94.4 million in general fund revenue. In the FY 23 budget, the district anticipated receiving about $86.4 million.

The school system’s budget breaks down into four categories — the school nutrition revenue budget, the special revenue budget, the capital projects budget, and the general fund budget.

The preliminary fiscal year 2024 budget reflected $99.9 million in expenditures if all the FY 24 budget requests were approved. The district had about $12.1 million in budget requests, and Superintendent Maggie Fehrman recommended the board approve $8.7 million in budget requests. 

Most of the budget requests relate to personnel. About $6.25 million of the requests is due to increased benefits and a $2,000 salary increase to all employees. 

If the board approved these budget requests, the total general fund expenditures would be about $96.5 million. 

The school nutrition budget is expected to receive about $3.13 million in revenue and spend the same amount in the proposed FY 24 budget. 

“School nutrition had a shortfall of revenue,” Chief Financial Officer Lonita Broome said. “The general fund must supplement the budget. School nutrition will need $300,208 from the general fund for fiscal year 24. We currently supplement the school nutrition budget by $746,000.”

The district also projects receiving about $2.7 million in special revenue funds. 

The project capital fund revenue is about $9.85 million. The beginning fund balance for the capital fund will be about $1.85 million, and CSD expects to receive $8 million in special purpose local option sales tax funding in FY 2024. 

Within the capital fund, CSD is projected to spend about $8.63 million. The biggest expenses are $4 million for building acquisition, improvement and construction, and $1.5 million for land improvement, which is the track and field project at Legacy Park. Other expenses include technology, textbooks and equipment, Broome said. 

Broome has projected a 7% increase in the tax digest. CSD will also have to pay more in benefits in 2024 due to the state budget.  

“For expenditures, the state decreased the health rate for non-certified employees from $500 per month beginning in 2024, to $250 per month, which reduced the cost from $3,000 per non-certified employee to $1,500 per non-certified employee,” Broome said. “It will be a two-year phase in, so the additional costs will be added effective July 2024.”

As part of the budget process, parents also volunteered to create a community survey to capture input from CSD stakeholders. They received 694 survey responses. The top five priorities that came out of the survey were: 

– More teaching staff, including teachers and paraprofessionals. 

– Teacher retention and compensation 

– More social workers, psychologists and counselors 

– More special education staff 

– Continuing education for teachers 

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