Five things to know about Atlanta Public Schools’ proposed budget

Atlanta Public Schools Board Chair Eshe’ Collins is shown during a work session to discuss the preliminary budget on Monday, May 1, 2023. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Atlanta Public Schools Board Chair Eshe’ Collins is shown during a work session to discuss the preliminary budget on Monday, May 1, 2023. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

The Atlanta school board tentatively approved the district’s $1.66 billion budget for the 2023-24 school year this week. The plan allocates $59.3 million toward a new compensation strategy to retain good teachers and attract new ones. A final budget vote is scheduled for June 5.

More pay for teachers

Atlanta Public Schools superintendent Lisa Herring speaks during a work session to discuss the preliminary budget at the Atlanta School Board meeting, Monday, May 1, 2023, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

The district plans to introduce a new pay structure aimed at boosting pay for its employees. The state budget also includes $2,000 raises for teachers. In addition, employees will receive pay increases between 6.5% and 8.4%. Officials plan to reinstate the doctorate degree band, meaning educators with doctoral degrees will earn more.

Retention bonuses

APS will offer one-time $3,000 retention payments for teachers in critical needs areas, such as special education or math. New teachers for those subjects will also get a one-time $3,000 stipend. So will teachers at APS Turnaround Schools, which have been targeted by the district for improvement and are run by a nonprofit called Purpose Built Schools Atlanta. Principals at those schools will get a $5,000 one-time bonus. All staff at high-poverty schools will receive retention bonuses of $500 to $2,000.

Health and safety investments

Staff members Jamie Walker (left) and Marlene Salgado Benitez (right) search a student's backpack at Maynard Jackson High School in Atlanta on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. Atlanta Public Schools have implemented a new weapons detection system called "Evolv" in their middle and high schools. CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.

Credit: Christina Matacotta

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Credit: Christina Matacotta

The district plans to invest $4.5 million more than last year in safety and security. That includes $800,000 to place school resource officers (SROs) in schools. It will put $9.2 million more toward special education than last year. APS plans to increase counseling services by 7%, investing $685,000 more than it did the last fiscal year.

Pandemic relief money ends

This is the last year APS will be able to take advantage of millions of dollars in federal stimulus money granted to school districts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The district plans to spend $1.3 million of the remaining money on staff well-being and mental health, $8.2 million will go toward extending the elementary school day by 30 minutes and $2.9 million will go toward ventilation costs, including air conditioning and heating system upgrades.

Pre-K dip

Due to a slight drop in enrollment, APS will lose one pre-K class this year. The district will receive just over $6 million from the state for 55 pre-K classes. That is a 5% decrease in funding. APS officials are partnering with an early education nonprofit to help locate students who may qualify for the pre-K program in the hopes that enrollment — and funding — will rebound next year.


Budget hearings

The district will hold two public hearings on the proposal.

The first is on Monday, May 8 at 6 p.m. via Zoom. Click here to register. The second public input meeting will take place Wednesday, May 10 at 6 p.m. at the APS central office at 130 Trinity Ave. in Atlanta.

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