Gov. Brian Kemp’s campaign promise of a $5,000 raise for Georgia’s public school teachers keeps falling.
However, a budget approved by the state House now includes salary increases for school counselors and social workers, as well as other certified positions, an addition of more than 9,000 workers in all.
The funding is part of a $27.5 billion statewide spending package for the 2020 fiscal year that House legislators passed on Thursday, Feb. 28. The fiscal year begins July 1.
The budget includes $611 million more than the 2019 amended budget, a 2.26 percent increase.
The Department of Education will receive 79 percent of the additional funding, with $483 million going to increased salaries for employees of K-12 schools.
“I’m pleased to see the raises applied to all certified educators in the budget approved by House Appropriations, and appreciate Gov. Kemp’s continued commitment to our teachers as well as the work of the legislature on this issue,” state schools Superintendent Richard Woods said in a statement to The Times. “School counselors, media specialists, school psychologists and school social workers are a crucial part of our work to educate the whole child.”
During the gubernatorial race last fall, Kemp promised certified teachers a $5,000 pay raise.
In his budget proposal released this month, Kemp proposed a $3,000 increase as a “down payment” on that promise.
Under the House plan, all certified staff would receive a $2,775 salary increase, an 8.1 percent jump from the base teacher starting salary, marking the largest pay increase for teachers in state history.
“The salary increase for the various positions is welcomed and celebrated, while likely increasing our budget a minimum of $1.7 million, excluding salary step increases and degree completions,” Gainesville City Schools Superintendent Jeremy Williams told The Times in an email. “However, we recognize the local financial commitment to address increases not detailed in the budget.”
The House budget also funds the state’s Quality Basic Education formula for the second year in a row after more than a decade of cutbacks, and includes $119 million in funding for 2-percent merit-based salary increases for state employees.
The Associated Press contributed to this report