TCSS to give teachers raise

Published 4:45 pm Friday, June 21, 2019

The General Fund budget passed at Thursday night’s school board meeting, meaning teachers in the Troup County School System will see a $3,000 raise.

Lawmakers passed the raise in March, along with a 2 percent raise for classified employees, but school systems were given some local control over how much of that raise teachers actually received. In Troup County, teachers will receive all of it. 

“Some systems are not passing that money on to the employees — not all of it — but we are,” said Interim Superintendent Roy Nichols at Thursday night’s board meeting.

Nichols said before Thursday night’s meeting that many school systems are keeping part that money for operational costs. 

“There were several years where teachers were furloughed and didn’t get raises,” Nichols said. “They deserve this raise. Teachers and principals are the most important people we have in this school system. All the rest of us are just here to support them. If we can’t attract the very best teachers, then we aren’t going to get the very best results.”

The overall $118 million budget passed will result in an annual deficit of $1.8 million, which is estimated to leave a fund balance of around $17 million in June 2020. 

The highest costs in the budget are for instruction ($70.8 million), maintenance and operations ($10.8 million) and student transportation ($9 million). 

Only two areas saw a budget decrease — staff development (down 25.8 percent) and maintenance and operations (down 1.1 percent). 

“This will put us on a much better, much more sustainable spending pattern than we were on this current year,” Nichols said. “It’ll bring us down to the amount of money the state recommends in the reserve, around 15 percent [of the overall budget]. We are feeling pretty good about this budget.”

In other action, the school system also did the following:

  • The Troup County School Board voted to provide additional funding to the Troup County Archives. With the vote, TCSS increased its funding to the archives to $98,410, which equals what Troup County and the City of LaGrange pay. The system also approved an additional $187,091.91 be transferred to Troup County to support renovation of Fort Georgia, the old 911 center currently used by the archives.
  • The board approved the purchase of 16 kit cars from GreenpowerUSA and seven trailers from Trailers for Less. The cars cost $55,960 and the trailers cost $39,450. GreenpowerUSA is a STEM initiative where students program, design, build and race student-driven electric racecars. 
  • The board approved a tax anticipation note proposal from PNC Bank for $20 million with a 2.19 percent interest rate. The TAN is a necessity due to the ongoing, simultaneous construction of the LaGrange High and Troup High gymnasiums.
  • The board approved reopening Unity School as a potential Professional Learning Center for high school students and The HOPE Academy a designated school site, rather than just a program.