Gov. signs record Georgia budget, two percent raise included for all teachers

Published 3:48 pm Friday, May 5, 2017

More than 200,00 teachers and state employees in Georgia, including those in Decatur County, will receive a 2 percent raise once the FY 2018 state budget takes effect July 1.

Gov. Nathan Deal signed the record $25 billion budget Monday.

“I’m very glad the governor was able to put that in the salary schedule, so teachers can maintain these rates moving forward,” Decatur County Superintendent Tim Cochran said. “They are very deserving of that.”

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The Decatur County School System gave a 2 percent increase in teacher pay for the 2016-17 school year. It was originally scheduled to be a one-time bump, but Gov. Deal’s signature has made the pay hike permanent.

The budget will hit $49 billion after federal funds and other funding are added in. The legislation supports education, human services, public safety and state infrastructure, among other areas.

“The FY 2018 budget maintains Georgia’s position as a national leader in conservative fiscal management and further strengthens our top priorities: quality education for all children, public safety in our communities, an economy that continues to generate jobs and an infrastructure system that supports a growing population,” Deal said in an official statement.

Deal added the state is working to make Georgia a better place to live, work and play by investing in public safety personnel, teachers and others responsible for ensuring the safety of Georgia’s children.

“Georgia has enjoyed sustained economic growth and this budget lays the foundation for continued short-term and long-term success,” Deal said. “I commend the General Assembly for working with me once again to balance the budget while addressing the issues that matter most to Georgia’s citizens.”

HB 44 invests more than $516 million in new funding for K-12 education, including allocations of more than $156.8 million for enrollment growth, training and experience, and $85.8 million for the Quality Basic Education Equalization program to assist low-wealth school systems.

The FY 2018 budget also invests more than $96 million in the Department of Human Services child welfare services programs to ensure that those who care for our most vulnerable citizens have the resources necessary to provide safe, caring environments for children in need.

Additional FY 2018 budget highlights include:

•    $115.4 million for performance incentives for high-performing employees or for employee recruitment and retention initiatives.
•    $222.5 million to meet actuarially determined employer contributions to the Teachers Retirement System.
•    $20.8 million for autism services for children served by Medicaid and $17.9 million for primary care and OB/GYN Medicaid providers.
•    $11.8 million to annualize a provider rate increase for the Comprehensive Supports Waiver Program.
•    $25.9 million for 500 additional NOW and Comprehensive waivers, bridge funding and housing vouchers.
•    $79.4 million for the University System of Georgia for resident instruction.
•    $20.5 million for the Move on When Ready program.
•    $11.3 million in bond funds for the Technical College System of Georgia to purchase world-class lab equipment.
•    $36.4 million to construct and equip a new crime lab for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Savannah.