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Tentative Gainesville City Schools budget includes 3 percent raises
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Gainesville City Schools employees will get 3 percent raises for 2016-17 and the school district will spend $66.4 million for its general fund — using about $1.7 million in reserve funds — under a tentative budget adopted unanimously Monday.

The board is expected to hold budget hearings at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. May 23. A video with information about the budget is expected to be on the school system’s home page at its website by Wednesday. The website is The link will be on the top portion of the home page.

Chris Griner, chief financial officer, told the board that 80 to 83 percent of the system’s budget is paid in salaries and benefits.

The board expects to give final approval to the budget at its June 20 meeting.

The tax rate is expected to remain the same — 6.89 mills.

The 3 percent raises, which were pushed by Gov. Nathan Deal for teachers, will cost about $1.3 million. The system also will pay teachers for “step” increases — for experience and education levels — which will cost an additional $250,000.

The budget will cost about $4 million more than the current year, and the system expects to get about $2.3 million more in revenue.

Gainesville expects to receive about $39.2 million in state money, but that is only about $670,000 more than the current year. Even though the state provided about $1.4 million more for next year than the current year, Gainesville lost about $1.5 million because of the way the state funding formula is calculated.

Gainesville anticipates hiring 18 additional teachers — primarily at the high school and middle school — because of higher enrollment. Superintendent Wanda Creel also said the system continues to get more students who need extra help with English, and those require smaller classes.

The new positions are budgeted to cost $1.35 million.

The budget also includes “special funds” that total $11,886,300. Building projects at Enota, Mundy Mill and Centennial Arts Academy are projected to cost $22.5 million, but that will be spread over at least a couple of years.

The new building at Centennial will be paid for with money from ESPLOST IV. The board approved a construction cost of $4,896,125 Monday. Carroll Daniel will be the construction contractor.

The building projects for Enota and Mundy Mill will be paid with ESPLOST V money. That revenue will not start being collected until November 2017, Griner told the board.

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