The proposed total budget for the Gwinnett County school system will be virtually unchanged for fiscal year 2013, at $1.73 billion. However, the general fund budget, which is "the crux of day to day business" for the system, will decline by $60.6 million, or 4.8 percent, in the coming year, Chief Financial Officer Rick Cost said Tuesday in Suwanee.
Officials had to overcome an $89 million shortfall to balance the budget as required by law, with increased costs ($53 million) and the continued decline in the Gwinnett property tax digest ($36 million) the chief reasons.
The E-SPLOST measure approved by voters last November is the reason the overall budget is largely unchanged from FY 2012. However, those monies can only be used for capital projects, such as new schools or additions to existing schools, and not for such things as teacher salaries.
There will be no layoffs of teachers or contracted personnel, but no salary increases. There also will be two furlough days, same as the current year.
GCPS, the state's largest system, projects 163,000 students for 2013, an increase from 2012. This is roughly 10 percent of all public school students in Georgia.
The average expenditure per student also will decline, by $405 per student.
GCPS plans public hearings on the budget on May 10 and May 17 at the Instructional Support Center in Suwanee. The school board will vote on the budget at the May 17 meeting. The new fiscal year begins July 1.
Also, school officials will be discussing the budget at the area board meetings, which begin Tuesday at South Gwinnett High in Snellville.
Editor's note: Steve Burns is the Suwanee Patch editor. Because the GCPS headquarters is located in Suwanee, he's usually the one who has the honor of covering county-wide school news.