Atlanta school board approves raises for 6,200 employees

Atlanta Public Schools employees will receive a 2% raise starting this week. BOB ANDRES/ AJC FILE PHOTO
Caption
Atlanta Public Schools employees will receive a 2% raise starting this week. BOB ANDRES/ AJC FILE PHOTO

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

Thousands of Atlanta Public Schools employees soon will see a little extra in their paychecks.

The school board this week unanimously approved a 2% pay increase that will cover about 6,200 teachers and full-time staff members. The raise is effective starting Friday.

For the average teacher, it amounts to about $1,300 a year, or $53 per paycheck, according to APS.

“I am thrilled that we are in a position to be able to do this for our employees,” said Superintendent Lisa Herring, in a written statement.

District officials initially recommended the raise as part of a larger package of proposed pay hikes for next fiscal year, which begins July 1. But APS decided to give the raises to employees a few months earlier.

That’s partly because local property tax collections are exceeding the district’s projections and because most employees have not received raises this school year.

Chief Financial Officer Lisa Bracken told the board Monday that she supports giving employees a pay boost now.

“It gets employees their higher wages earlier and increases the likelihood that we’re able to fund more of the critical compensation initiatives out of next year’s budget,” she said.

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The board also agreed to expand the number of employees who will receive one-time “retention bonuses” on April 30.

Gov. Brian Kemp’s plan provides Georgia school districts with more than $230 million in federal stimulus funds to pass on to eligible educators for working through the coronavirus pandemic.

Bracken said APS will extend the bonuses so more employees are covered than what’s included in the state’s list. APS will give $1,000 payments to all full-time employees and $500 to all part-time employees and permanent substitute teachers.

Money provided through the state will cover $8.2 million of the year-end compensation changes, with APS picking up $2.8 million.

In the coming months, the school board will consider a package of additional pay hike proposals, estimated to cost $21.6 million, for the upcoming school year. The board is scheduled to vote June 7 on next year’s budget.