CLARKESVILLE — The Habersham County Board of Education on Monday approved overall budgets for Fiscal Year 2020 of $108,236,365.
Applying a $14,139,070 fund balance from FY19 to the budget year beginning July 1, 2019, additional revenue in the following amounts will be applied:
- Property ad valorem tax — $14,800,000;
- Title ad valorem tax (TAVT) — $900,000;
- Education sales tax — $13,000,000;
- Real estate and intangible taxes — $410,000;
- Alcohol tax — $380,000;
- Other local sources of $361,000 plus $2,115,500 in special revenue fund — $2,476,500;
- State sources of $49,924,024 plus $155,000 in special revenue fund — $50,079,024;
- Federal sources of $8,759,025 in special revenue fund; and
- $3,292,746 in transfers from other funds, generating total revenues of $108,236,365.
Total expenditures are projected at $95,488,489, resulting in a fund balance of $12,747,876 at the end of the budget year on June 30, 2020.
Those expenditures average out to about $13,000 for each of the Habersham County School System’s nearly 7,000 students.
The FY 2020 budget includes a $3,000 pay increase for certified employees, the largest single-year pay increase for Georgia teachers. That raise will increase starting teacher pay in Habersham County from $35,115 to $38,115.
Additionally, all classified employees will receive a 2% pay increase.
The Habersham County School System employs roughly 1,100 people to teach and support the education of its nearly 7,000 students.
The debt service budget is $4,361,050 and includes Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds and interest collected to make bond payments due October 2019 and March 2020.
The capital projects budget is $3,292,746 and includes funds for instructional software, textbooks, regular and special education school buses; technology hardware, including computers, laptops and classroom projectors; and funds for facility needs, including Hilliard Wilbanks Middle School track renovations, Habersham Ninth Grade Academy tennis court resurfacing, HVAC units and roofing upgrades at various schools, as well as commons area renovations at Level Grove Elementary and Demorest Elementary.
The special revenue budgets include funds for federal categorical grants and secondary vocational grants awarded to the Habersham County School District that must be expended in accordance with federal and state requirements. School activity accounts, the school nutrition program, and other locally managed budgets are included in this budget.
Board Chairman Robert Barron said Habersham County’s strong economy is helping the school system's revenue.
"I've seen several years where we've really stressed over some of the numbers, but this year the budget is doing well, which is again a reflection of the economy doing better," Barron said. "I think everything is giving us a chance to have opportunities to make it the best for the kids. The things that we're doing are all in the success for the students. Everything is geared for that in our strategic plan, so if you keep things aligned with the strategic plan and keep the students first, then I think we can't fail at all in what we're doing."
Also, at Monday night’s meeting, the board unanimously voted to extend Superintendent Matthew Cooper’s employment contract for an additional year, through the end of the 2022 school year.
“We believe strongly in Mr. Cooper’s leadership,” Barron said. “We have, since he has been here, pretty much had him on a three-year contract, so this is just a way of doing one more year in understanding and appreciation of his contract knowing that we want him to continue to be the leader. Giving him a three-year allows him to be able to relax, not have to worry about things and continue to lead the school in the manner in which it needs to be. He’s doing a great job at it.”