Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen is scheduled to submit, for tentative approval, a $743 million spending plan for the 2016-2017 school year to the Atlanta Board of Education during a special-called meeting at 5 p.m., Wednesday, April 20.

Highlights of the budget plan include:
· $7.3 million in cuts from FY2016 to central office staff and expenditures
· $23.7 million investment in additional support and interventions for struggling schools at risk of state takeover
· $10.6 million for safety and security measures, including implementation of the district’s new in-house safety and security team (cost neutral for the district)
· $15.2 million for step increases and cost of living adjustments for all staff, as well as $950,000 to move Pre-K teachers to the same salary scale as all other teachers in the district
· $18.5 million for ongoing programs and initiatives which support APS’s school cluster model and signature program implementation ($3.5 million more than the current budget)

Additionally, the proposed budget for fiscal year 2017 provides more spending flexibility for school leaders, which is in alignment with APS’ new charter system status, and allows more cluster-based planning to better meet the specific needs of the district’s diverse school communities. Also, it continues to support ongoing programs to remediate and enrich those students still in APS schools, who were adversely impacted by having their Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) scores manipulated.

“This budget proposal is another step in the transformation of public education in Atlanta,”  Carstarphen said. “It is balanced, provides for equity throughout the district, and distributes resources in our areas of critical need. In short, it is student-centered and continues our commitment to put the children of APS first in everything we do.”

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.