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SCCPSS holds first preliminary budget hearing

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 11:52 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah Chatham Public School System said they just submitted their outline for American Rescue Plan Funding to the state board of education to receive $99 million.

They are waiting on approval and they said they want the funding to be spent hiring additional staff and counselors to help get students on track after they spent so much time learning virtually.

During the first public hearing on the board of education’s budget for next year, a steep decline in enrollment was also a talking point. The district lost 400 this year and a couple hundred last year. They attribute some of this to a decline in the county’s birth rate.

“Because of COVID and the prior two years that we have lost a huge amount of students to homeschooling and other means,” said Dr. Joe Buck, president of the school board.

In the budget presented at Wednesday night’s hearing, the district’s budget director Paige Cooley said they’ll lose close to an estimated $89,000 because their state funding is based on kids in classrooms.

“Our numbers go down, of course, our state revenue goes down so that does affect us because we are losing students,” Cooley said.

The district’s budget is projected to go up by $5 million and Cooley said that’s mainly from bumping up teacher salaries and adding 12 school counselors.

“About 83% of our budget is salaries and benefits so as we’re a service organization most of the money goes towards that.”

The district said like most, there have been difficulties getting fully staffed.

This is not the last time the public will have a chance to give input on the budget. The proposed budget is below and accessible on their website.

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