County school board prepares to adopt budget

DeKalb County Board of Education is preparing to review an estimated $1.29 billion Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget, which sees some of its expenditures offset by federal COVID relief funds. 

While a line-item budget proposal was not yet available as on June 17, some budget highlights discussed by district staff include $6 million for step pay increases for all employees, and no furlough or calendar reduction days. The 2020-21 budget included six “calendar reduction days,” most of which were offset by staff training days. More than $60 million is proposed for new staff and initiatives. 

During the June 14 BOE meeting, DCSD CFO Charles Burbridge said at the time of the May BOE meeting, staff had submitted an estimated $160 million in budget requests. Since then, requests have been reduced by more than $75 million, he said. 

“This was accomplished by reviewing zero-based budget requests. We zeroed out what can be funded under CARES 2 funds,” he said; Burbridge said the district is also planning to use federal funds to avoid furlough days. 

The tentative budget plans to use fund balance to support capital projects, and in total, an estimated $20 million from fund balance is expected to be used to balance the budget. The district anticipates having $110 million in fund balance at the end of 2022.

Burbridge said a $24 million increase in local tax revenues is expected to come to the district per the county’s latest tax digest numbers. In addition, the latest round of COVID relief funds from the federal government is set to yield DCSD $320.6 million from the American Rescue Plan, the highest amount among Georgia districts. In 2020, the district received $30 million through the CARES Act. 

Specific budget details are expected to be available in the coming days with a public budget hearing scheduled for June 21 at 10 a.m.

FY2022 DCSD budget development information can be found on the DeKalb County School District’s website at: https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/superintendent/budget.

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