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Rockdale BOE OKs additional teachers

RCPS to add 39 more teachers for next year

CONYERS — In preparation for the upcoming school year, the Rockdale County Public Schools Board of Education has approved teacher allotments for 2014-15, with the addition of a few more instructors from the previous year.

The school board authorized 800 teacher positions for next year at the BOE’s Thursday night regular session, an addition of 39 regular education teachers compared to 2013-14. RCPS will gain 29 more elementary teachers, four more middle school instructors and six high school teachers.

According to RCPS Chief Financial Officer Lee Davis, the extra teacher positions will cost the school system an estimated $2.6 million, financed with approximately 60 percent state funds and 40 percent local funds.

He added that the state allotment for Rockdale County has gone up about $7.8 million, funds based on student growth, austerity reductions being restored and equalization.

“The funds for those teachers are coming from growth, from really a lot of areas,” Davis stated.

One of the formulas which provides local school systems with state funds is the Quality Basic Education Act, which gives school systems the ability to earn money in different areas of operation. RCPS earns capital for areas as varied as transportation, central office and resources for low income students. However, the state sometimes does not have adequate funding to dole out the entire amount a school system earns through the QBE, resulting in austerity cuts.

For the 2014 fiscal year, the state only had enough money to allocate RCPS approximately 85 percent of what it earned based on the QBE, meaning that the school system was about $10.4 million short of its total earnings.

In consideration of upcoming FY15, Gov. Nathan Deal decided to restore roughly one-third of those austerity reductions. This will culminate in RCPS getting about 91 percent of what it earned on the QBE — an extra $3 million, approximately.