The DeKalb School Board is set to vote on the school district's proposed $1.832 billion budget for the 2019 Fiscal Year on June 26.
The budget, which includes $1.092 billion for the General Fund, includes $2.077 million for an early childhood learning center at Terry Mill Elementary School that will serve 200 3-year-old children in prekindergarten education; $6.5 million for new textbooks; $3.5 million for summer school; $1.5 million to put a school nurse at every middle and high school; and $860,000 to hire 10 new school resource officers and a new sergeant.
The budget also earmarked $3 million to create two new district regions.
The meeting, which starts at 7 p.m., takes place at the district headquarters in Stone Mountain.
DCSD says the proposed budget focuses financial resources toward transportation; an increase in school resource officers; new textbooks; a new early childhood learning center; and two new administrative regions, among other items.
The School Board will also consider approval of the Fiscal Year 2019 final millage rate, which has not yet been finalized.
Under the district’s latest proposal, the millage rate will increase by 9.51 percentage points over the rollback millage rate and is expected to remain at 23.28 Mills.
At the June 11 millage hearing, residents lined up to tell board members to ??
Willie Pringle, who lives in Decatur and is a Restore DeKalb member, said the district continues to tax residents but that it is not getting any better.
"The school system is really about money," said Pringle, a 35-year DeKalb resident. "It’s not about educating our children, but I’ll tell you, we as taxpayers have to make y’all start being accountable and be responsible. That’s by voting y’all off.”
Joel Edwards, another Restore DeKalb member, said the district is not accountable to taxpayers and that if his taxes keep going up, he's going to have to leave DeKalb County.
"I can't afford to stay in this county where everybody keeps asking for half a cent sales tax, one cent sales tax, SPLOST here, SPLOST there. I mean when does it end?" Edwards said. "When does it end?"
The third and final millage rate hearing is set for 6:15 p.m. on June 26.
Since 2013, total school taxes levied has increased from $384.8 million to the proposed $554.9 million for the 2018-2019 school budget. Last year, the district levied $498.8 million in taxes. If approved, taxes will increase by $56 million or 11. 24 percent.
Other highlights of the proposed budget include an increase to $541,539 for the School Board members, up from $320,178 in 2016.
School bus drivers who pressed for better pay and benefits with a three-day sickout April 19-23 are earmarked to get $35.5 million, an increase of $306,981 from the 2018 budget.
More than 400 of the district’s 900-plus bus drivers participated in the sickout that stranded hundreds of students at bus stops for up to 90 minutes and caused classes to start late.
At the School Board's June 11 public hearing into the budget, Daniel Sobczak, who teaches social studies at Southwest DeKalb High School, implored the school board members to add more teachers and reduce class size.
“Class sizes are still too big," Sobczak said. "Thirty-eight in one classroom and two adults — that’s too many. I think the fire marshal may have something to say about that, too. We need to make sure we have enough teachers and not just look at across-the-board averages. It’s not fair to our students to be putting that many children into one class where the teacher doesn’t have the opportunity to really reach the needs of every student.”
The district said the final budget could be amended between now and June 26.
To view the budget, visit www.dekalbschoolsga.org/superintendent/budget/.
– Bryce Ethridge contributed to this report.