APS board of education approves $685 million operating budget

The Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education approved a $685.5 million operating budget for the 2015-2016 school year at a special meeting, another fluctuation in plans that have seen budget drafts reaching above $700 million.

The budget is about $27.5 million more than the $658 million approved for the current school year. Interim Chief Financial Officer Nadar Sohrab has said while local and state tax revenues were up for the district, increases were necessary due to growth in the district’s charter school system.

Where population in the charter schools is growing, Sohrab said, regular APS schools have been flat.

Among the cuts to make up the shortfall due to charter school growth are the central administration, which will see a loss of about $6 million, as well as school administration, which is projected to lose about $2.3 million.

It was the first time in awhile that a district operating budget was unanimously approved. Nancy Meister, vice chairwoman of the board, attributed that to the work put into the document and a willingness from all sides to work together.

“I’m proud of this work,” she said. “And I’ve told that to the community members who have asked me about it.

The administrative cuts, according to Sohrab, the interim chief financial officer, will be made by cutting some staff and reorganizing others. Some schools, Sohrab said, will gain instructors in a reorganization process called “right-sizing.”

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