“We will distribute this money to your local school system under the existing QBE formula, but it is our intention that your local school system pass the 3 percent pay raise along to you. If that does not happen, it will make it more difficult next year for the state to grant local systems more flexibility in the expenditure of state education dollars, as recommended by the Education Reform Commission.”
Gov. Nathan Deal, 2016 State of the State
There are just a few problems with the governor’s statement and more than the usual sleight of hand. Keywords: “Existing QBE formula” and “our intention.” When the governor made this speech, he knew full well the $300 million would not be enough to give teachers a 3 percent raise and enough to backfill other money the state has sliced through austerity cuts. And he cruelly put the decision on giving the raise on the backs of local school districts rather than just adjusting teacher pay at the state level.
In Bibb County, that 3 percent raise costs $4.1 million. If the district doesn’t raise the millage rate and a raise is given, the fund balance, which it is required to keep at 8 percent or above of annual expenditures, would drop to 5.76 percent in 2017 and to 1.46 in 2018 and run negative numbers in years after that according to district documents. Even if it doesn’t give teachers a raise the system would have a negative fund balance by fiscal year 2019. If the district raises the 2 mills, it stays solvent above the 8 percent threshold through 2021.