State of the State & Education Budget
In his State of the State remarks today, Gov. Brian Kemp highlighted continued efforts of educators across Georgia to support students’ academic and mental health needs during the pandemic. He proposes a $2,000 pay raise for certified educators in his Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 budget. If passed, the pay raise would be effective Sept. 1, 2022. Kemp's proposed raise follows the $3,000 pay raise the General Assembly enacted in 2019, and would fulfill Kemp’s campaign commitment to increase Georgia teacher salaries by $5,000. Prekindergarten lead and assistant teachers are included in the proposed pay raise. If approved by the legislature, the governor's budget would also restore the $383 million reduction in state funding for public schools as well as cuts to other areas of the education budget. In addition, Kemp proposed a $5,000 pay raise for state employees, including staff at the state’s education agencies, to improve recruitment and retention.
Kemp also outlined education funding in the proposed Amended Fiscal Year (AFY) 2022 budget, which covers the current school year. He recommends a one-time salary supplement of $2,000 for full-time educators and support staff funded by the Quality Basic Education (QBE) formula, the state’s formula for funding public schools. He plans a one-time salary supplement of $1,000 for school bus drivers, nurses, nutrition workers, and part-time staff funded by the QBE. He also aims to restore the $383 million funding cut for schools for the current school year.
State funding for the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) in FY23 is also expected to go up as the employer contribution rate rises to 19.98 percent from its current 19.18 percent. Kemp’s proposed FY23 budget would boost funding for the Employee Retirement System (ERS) to cover several items including a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for retirees, if approved by lawmakers.
Legislators will begin work on Kemp’s budget proposals next week when the house and senate appropriations committees hold joint hearings. State agency heads will present their agencies’ budgets, giving lawmakers an opportunity to ask more detailed questions about their spending plans.
Kemp’s budget report, which includes both budget proposals, is available HERE. Both budgets use FY22 funding levels as a starting point, so changes outlined in each are compared to the amounts in the original FY22 budget.
Highlights from Kemp’s proposed budgets include:
$383 million to restore QBE austerity cuts
$93 million for mid-term adjustment for enrollment growth
$188 million to replace 1,747 buses statewide and provide funds for reimbursement for key safety features
$14 million for one-time $1,000 salary supplement for school bus drivers
$315 million for one-time salary supplements of $2,000 for full-time QBE-funded certified educators and support staff and $1,000 for part-time QBE-funded educators and support staff
$2 million for one-time $1,000 supplements for school nurses
$593,006 to restore the austerity reductions to Regional Educational Service Agencies (RESAs)
$2.4 million to administer Milestones in accordance with federal requirements
$1.5 million to implement the Dual Achievement Program pilot through the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG)
$383 million to restore QBE austerity cuts
$287 million for $2,000 salary increase for QBE-funded certified educators
$43 million for enrollment growth and educator training and experience increases in the QBE
$35 million for formula increase for State Commission Charter School supplement
$4.7 million for state special charter schools
$2.9 million for local charter school grants
$2.9 million for special needs scholarship
$1.9 million for transportation grants based on formula growth
$4.4 million for a 5.4 percent salary increase for bus drivers
$818,126 for enrollment growth and restoration of funding to RESAs
$3.1 million for dual enrollment to meet projected need through the Student Finance Commission
$5.2 million for the Dual Achievement Program pilot through TCSG
$2.3 million in bonds for career, technical, and agricultural equipment
$300,000 to launch an online elementary education program at Valdosta State University
$300,000 to establish an elementary education program at Savannah State University
$320,000 for merit-based scholarships to promote recruitment of paraprofessionals at Valdosta State University
Upcoming Capitol Reports will highlight Gov. Kemp's non-budgetary education remarks during his State of the State speech. The PAGE legislative team will cover next week's joint appropriations hearings and continue advocating for the proposed educator pay raises and restoration of school funding.