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Henry County BOE Unanimously Approves FY25 Budget Highlighted by Record Investments in Students, Employees

Infographic displaying data from press releaseHENRY COUNTY, GA – The Henry County Board of Education on May 13 unanimously approved the final version of the budget for the 2024-2025 school year, which includes a record investment of $12,937 per student and raises the starting teacher salary to $50,910.

The $561.4 million General Fund budget – which maintains a consistent millage rate dating back to 2007 – increases the average investment in each of the district’s 43,395 projected students by more than $1,000 per student over last year’s budget.

“This budget’s record investments in Henry County Schools students and employees represent another significant milestone in realizing the district’s vision to ensure a high-quality, world-class education for every student,” said Interim Superintendent Dr. Carl Knowlton. “Thanks to the strength of our local economy and the sound financial management of our Board of Education, we continue to make tremendous progress in our mission to provide opportunities, access, and outcomes for all students, while also making HCS a desirable destination to teach and work, as well as to learn.”

The strongest commitment to teaching and learning in district history includes increasing the teacher salary schedule by 5.2% over FY24. The $50,910 starting teacher salary represents an improvement of more than $12,000 since 2018.

“Our board is committed to ensuring our students have access to state-of-the-art learning environments and our employees have access to competitive compensation and support,” said Board Chair Sophe Pope (Dist. 4). “This budget makes unprecedented investments in our students, teachers, and staff, while funding crucial next steps toward accomplishing our community’s hopes, dreams and aspirations related to highly effective instruction, instructional resources, facilities growth, safety and security, and much more.”

A total of $37.4 million in new investments aimed at ensuring competitive compensation through salary and benefits includes honoring steps in salary schedules, increasing the value of schedules for each job family, and making targeted increases in the hourly rates for bus drivers, paraprofessionals, clinic aides, elementary and data clerks, school secretaries, transportation route planners, school nutrition assistant managers, school nutrition assistants, and campus monitors, as well as Level 1 and 2 district secretaries and Level 1 and Level 2 maintenance personnel. 

Additionally, the budget encompasses the state-mandated increase in benefits, which totals $13.3 million.

Staffing increases were also addressed in the FY25 budget, which creates 41 new teacher positions with more than half of those dedicated to the district’s Community-Inspired Strategic Plan priorities related to World Languages, orchestra, and computer science/engineering.

“One of the board’s key responsibilities is to approve the budget, which is the result of months of planning, board meeting reports, and two public hearings,” said Vice Chair Annette Edwards (Dist. 2). “We believe our community deserves the best possible learning environments for students and working environments for staff, and we are confident this budget accomplishes those objectives.”

Included in the board’s action were approvals of the budgets for the Special Revenue Fund ($63.9 million) and Capital Projects Fund ($55.0 million). The two funds include targeted investments, many of which are related to sustaining the momentum of the district’s strategic plan, which will be entering its fourth of five years. These include safety and security enhancements, facility growth projects, highly effective instruction, asset growth and replacement, instructional resources, and more.

The final budget is largely consistent with the figures tentatively adopted by the board last month. Acting Chief Financial Officer Jeff Allie reported two notable changes related to an increase in state funding from $260.7 million to $274.4 million, as well as an expense of $900,000 to fund an additional increase in the employer’s share of state health insurance for classified employees.

The approved budget totals $707.8 million across the four aggregate funds, including the General Fund, Special Revenue Fund, Capital Projects Fund, and Debt Service Fund.

About Henry County Schools

Henry County Schools (HCS) is the eighth-largest school district in Georgia, consisting of 52 schools, including two academies, located about 20 minutes south of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Over the past 20 years, our community has grown in population from 113,000 residents to over 244,000 residents. Since 1999, student enrollment has grown from 21,000 students to 43,000 students, and our number of employees has grown from 3,000 to 6,000.

HCS is “In Pursuit of Exceptional,” taking action to advance opportunities, access, and outcomes so that every student in our school district has Exceptional Support, Exceptional Access, and an Exceptional Future. In 2020, our Board of Education adopted our 2021-2026 Community-Inspired Strategic Plan and laid out a clear vision and mission for Henry County Schools. Our vision is to ensure a high-quality, world-class education for every student, and our mission is to empower all students with exceptional opportunities and access that lead to success in a global society.