The budget and the pay increases go into effect July 1. Cobb’s budget does not include a tax increase, furloughs or layoffs. Pay raises would be applied in addition to any increases eligible employees are entitled to each year based on experience.
Cobb’s budget is based on the county seeing a 5.54% increase in its tax digest, said Chief Financial Officer Brad Johnson. The final digest numbers will be presented to the school board in July, he said.
“Taxpayers should be very encouraged at how an organization as large as the Cobb County School District, the largest employer in Cobb, manages the taxpayer dollars very efficiently and effectively,” Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said.
Two residents spoke to school board members before they approved the budget. Heather Tolley-Bauer, a member of grassroots organization Watching the Funds - Cobb, said her organization will keep an eye on how the district spends its tax dollars, including the $166 million it’s slated to receive as part of the third federal coronavirus relief stimulus package.
“Because no matter what funds are used to make purchase, it all comes from the taxpayer, many of whom support our work,” she said.
She said Watching the Funds conducted a poll of educators, who said they would like to see Cobb spend money on improving HVAC ventilation in schools, hiring more faculty and staff and purchasing literacy and math materials.
Shannon Deisen, who spoke on behalf of a parent who has two children with special needs, said the district should use money to lower class sizes and hire more teachers to help educators provide more one-on-one support for students.
Board members unanimously approved the budget. Jaha Howard and Leroy “Tre” Hutchins did not attend the meeting.