The Clayton County Schools FY 2025 focuses on five areas focused on increasing student achievement and financial stability.

JONESBORO, Ga. – The Clayton County Board of Education held its second public hearing on the fiscal year 2025 superintendent’s proposed budget on Monday, June 3. The budget addresses Superintendent Dr. Anthony W. Smith’s five priorities: cultivating a school safety culture, promoting a positive work environment, increasing academic achievement, maintaining financial stability and sustainability, strengthening the organizational structure, and enhancing infrastructure and new facilities.

Chief Financial Officer Ramona Bivins presented the budget highlights, which include proposed changes to certified and classified personnel compensation. In addition to the $2,500 increase by the state, Dr. Smith recommends an additional $1,500 for a total increase of $3,000 plus a step increase for certified personnel. He also proposes a $1,500 loyalty incentive to be paid at the end of August and an attendance incentive of up to $2,500 for the full year.

“Also, he’s proposing a spring break appreciation incentive of $500 that would be paid,” Bivins said. “And then also at mid-year, we are proposing to increase the teacher, the certified salary scale by $1,000 in January of 2025.”

Classified personnel will receive a 4.1% increase to their salaries, along with the loyalty and attendance incentives. Custodians will receive a $1,000 supplement to their salary for one year, awarded by the state.

The budget also includes funding for student engagement specialists, ESOL instructional specialists, a data clerk, a social worker, an MTSS lead, student behavioral health specialists, and a homeless education specialist.

Bivins emphasized the district’s limitations in generating revenue compared to surrounding school districts. “For one mill, we only get $11.3 million compared to $48 million in Atlanta,” she said. “And it’s because of the property values.”

During the public comment portion of the hearing, several district employees expressed their concerns and appreciation for the proposed budget. Pamela Tate, a district registrar, requested that her position be compensated fairly, as it was not based on experience when she started in 2016.

Tony McCreer, a student engagement specialist, highlighted the importance of his role in addressing behavioral issues and ensuring student safety. “When a person like me and when a person who is in my position, when we’re gone, who’s going to handle those other 150 cases that come out?” he asked.

Roger Hobbs, a teacher, compared Clayton County’s teacher pay to that of neighboring districts, urging the board to increase salaries to remain competitive. “A new teacher isn’t going to pick Clayton County,” he said. “A new teacher is going to go to Cobb or Atlanta. And then if they don’t get in there, then they’re going to come here.”

Antoinette Scandrett, another district registrar, emphasized the crucial role of registrars in the enrollment process and requested that the district registrar position be considered in the 2024-2025 budget.

Superintendent Smith acknowledged the concerns raised by the employees and assured them that the district is working to compensate them appropriately. “We heard you. We evaluated our status in terms of where we are in the metro Atlanta area and we reevaluated,” he said. “So for us to take what the governor’s given, which is $2,500, and then add another 500, which will bring that up to 3000, which I’m aware of two other districts that are doing that, and give a step increase, which generally would be about another thousand or so, which now puts you at 4000.”

The tentative millage rate of 19.6 mills must be finalized by June 30. If necessary, the board will hold millage rate public hearings in July, with the final adoption in late July or early August.

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