Fulton County Schools mulls 2% pay hike for employees

The Fulton County Schools board is reviewing a proposal to give employees a 2% pay increase next school year. AJC FILE PHOTO
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The Fulton County Schools board is reviewing a proposal to give employees a 2% pay increase next school year. AJC FILE PHOTO

Fulton County Schools employees could receive a 2% pay raise next school year as part of a proposed compensation package that would cost more than $30 million.

Several board members on Thursday expressed support for Superintendent Mike Looney’s plan to hike salaries by 2% for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Eligible employees also would receive a step increase, based on years of experience.

The raises would cost the district about $30 million.

Board member Gail Dean said providing additional pay to staff, especially those who worked on the front line during the pandemic, is important given “what we’ve gone through this year.”

Officials also want to give hiring and retention bonuses to special education paraprofessionals and teachers. The payments would range between $600 and $5,000. The district would use an estimated $2.7 million in federal dollars to cover the cost of the incentives.

“I am very supportive of the staff compensation,” said board member Katie Reeves. “I think the special needs one-time payments are wise and needed.”

Employees did not receive raises this school year, though they are poised to receive one-time retention bonuses of $1,000 for full-time staffers and $500 for part-time employees.

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The compensation plan is part of the district’s proposed $1.088 billion spending plan for the upcoming budget year that includes a shortfall.

Officials propose to plug that gap using $28.6 million from the district’s fund balance, leaving an estimated $229.5 million in the rainy day fund.

Chief Financial Officer Marvin Dereef told board members he expects revenue projections to improve, which would allow the district to preserve more of its reserves.

The board will hold public hearings on the proposed budget on May 4 and May 13. A vote to adopt the budget, including the compensation plan, is scheduled for June 8.