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Athens residents wait for the Athens Clarke County Board of Education meeting to begin at the H.T. Edwards building in Athens, Georgia on Thursday, March 7, 2019. (Photo/Caroline Barnes, http://carolinembarnes.wixsite.com/photography)

The Clarke County School District Board of Education approved a fiscal year 2020 budget of $164.7 million on June 13.

The budget includes a $3,000 raise for every teacher and a 2% raise for all non-teaching personnel. The raise comes as a result of the Georgia General Assembly and Gov. Brian Kemp implementing a record budget for the upcoming fiscal year on May 10. The FY 2020 budget takes effect on July 1 and includes $3,000 raises for every public school teacher in the state.

Strengthening student safety and supporting the social and emotional health of students and staff within the district were some priorities of the budget, according to a June 14 CCSD news release.

Additionally, the budget includes athletic training services at Cedar Shoals and Clarke Central High Schools, an English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) secretary, a community support specialist and Communities in Schools coordinators at Alps Road and Gaines Elementary Schools.

The administration opted not to reallocate Local School Governance Team Innovation Grant funds to provide increased social-emotional support to staff in schools in response to feedback from the public. Three budget hearings to solicit feedback and input from the public were held.

Instead, the social-emotional support staff proposal will be implemented through the use of Title IV-A funds. The funds will go towards having two additional counselors and one school-based health clinic paraprofessional.

“The feedback and input provided throughout this process have been informative in clarifying these values for our administration,” Superintendent of Clarke County Schools Demond Means said in the release. “We are prepared to implement effective instructional strategies to meet the needs of our students.”

The CCSD administration has submitted a balanced budget to the Board of Education and the community for consideration for the second consecutive year. On May 9, the district presented the budget and held a special meeting to answer questions from the board on May 23.

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