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Proposed FY23 Budget: Employee Salary Increases and Tax Reduction

FY23 (2022-23) Operational Budget

The Forsyth County Board of Education was presented the proposed FY23 operational budget at their meeting on May 10. The budget was built to serve a projected 54,061 students and to accommodate the opening of the county’s 42nd school, New Hope Elementary. In 2021-22, Forsyth County Schools moved to the 5th largest of 180 school districts in Georgia.

“As stated in our newly adopted Strategic Plan, Forsyth County Schools is committed to providing an unparalleled education for our students,” shared FCS Superintendent Dr. Jeff Bearden. “Our FY23 budget proposal includes a competitive salary and benefits package for our employees while remaining fiscally responsible to our citizens.”

Highlights from the proposed budget include:

  • Step increase for eligible staff
  • All salary bands adjusted - including:
    • Minimum $2,650 increase for all certified staff (includes $2,000 from the Governor and 1% COLA)
    • Minimum of $15 per hour for all hourly employees and all steps on these bands; new starting hourly rates include:
      • Bus monitors: $15.15
      • Custodians: $15.15
      • School nutrition: $15.15
      • Bus drivers: $18.02
    • Additional salary adjustments for school nurses, secretaries, paraprofessionals, and all steps on these bands; new starting hourly rates include:
      • Paraprofessionals: $16.09
      • Administrative support: $16.37
      • Certified paraprofessionals: $17.95
    • 1% COLA for all classified staff
    • Increases for substitute teacher daily rates: noncertified: $120, certified: $145 (Prior pay: $85) NOTE: Updated 5/13/22

If approved on June 21, 2022, the changes above will go into effect July 1, 2022. 2022-23 employee pay bands will be shared with staff after approval.

“This budget invests in resources for students and staff that align with our Strategic Plan,” shared FCS Superintendent Dr. Jeff Bearden. “It ensures that all full-time employees earn, at a minimum, $15 an hour with a very competitive benefits package. This budget also honors step increases for eligible employees and includes the state’s $2,000 pay increase for teachers. For Forsyth County taxpayers, this budget also decreases the debt service millage rate from 2.418 to 1.418 and maintains the current operating millage rate at 17.3 mills for the 8th straight year. I want to thank all of our principals and department heads for their hard work on this budget proposal.”

The budget is 46% state-funded and 54% local-funded. It is important to note that local revenue has increased based on inflation (i.e., nationwide increases in property values and goods) and low inventory. State revenue also increased for FY23; we appreciate the Governor providing $2,000 bonuses for teachers and issuing no austerity cuts to local school districts.

With this proposed budget, the operating millage rate will remain at 17.3 mills for the 8th straight year. The debt services (bond) millage rate will be lowered from 2.418 to 1.418. This one mill reduction for taxpayers brings the debt services millage rate back to its 2010 rate.

88% of the operating budget is spent on salaries and benefits, with 72% of expenditures going directly to instruction. FCS is the largest employer in Forsyth County. According to the Georgia Department of Education, for FY21 FCS had the lowest per-pupil expenditures out of the 12 largest school districts in the state.

Review the proposed FY23 operational budget presentation: