Cobb school board approves ‘historic’ raises in 2020 budget

The Cobb County School District has about 113,000 students.

Credit: Ben Brasch/AJC

Credit: Ben Brasch/AJC

The Cobb County School District has about 113,000 students.

The Cobb County School Board on Thursday gave the final approval to the district’s fiscal year 2020 budget that calls for “historic” 8 to 12.6% raises for every non-temporary employee in the system.

Board members unanimously approved the $1.1 billion budget at its May 16 meeting. The school system said the raise are unlike anything implemented by the district in at least 25 years.

“This budget shows the priority of the district which is our staff and our students,” Superintendent Chris Ragdsale said, adding the raises were made possible by Gov. Brian Kemp’s across-the-board $3,000 raise for certified teachers, as well as the school board’s low administrative costs.

The budget, which goes into effect July 1, accounts for 90 more classroom positions and an additional 7.5 custodial positions. It would also give nurses incremental raises every two years, adjust bus driver salaries so that their base pay is spread equally throughout the year and gives campus police officers a competitive salary adjustment.

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The budget anticipates a 5.5% growth in the county’s tax digest, which could add $30 million in property tax revenue to the system, officials said. The proposed budget calls for holding the 18.9 property tax rate steady, but if property values increase, tax bills will too.

Cobb School Board member Jaha Howard said he was “thrilled” to be part of the decision-making process for the budget and a team that can acknowledge the great things that are going on “while seeing how we can get better.”

“It takes a different mindset to do two things at once,” he said.

School Board Chairman David Chastain said the budget also reflects the district’s commitment to Cobb students and staff members.

“An investment in our staff is an investment in the future success of our students and I’m confident this budget will allow Cobb to continue to be what it has been: the best place for families to live in the metropolitan Atlanta area,” he said.

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