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April 9--  Georgia school systems will have more money to work with in their fiscal year 2019 budgets thanks to an increase in state funding.

Due to an estimated $194 billion dollar increase in state revenue, Governor Nathan Deal announced the state will be able to fully fund its share of funding in the new fiscal year.

Toombs County School Superintendent Richard Smith reports the Toombs County school system's budget will get a boost of $310,619 which will help it offset the local share of an upcoming 4% increase in the Teacher Retirement Fund.

In Vidalia, School Superintendent Dr. Garrett Wilcox says the increase of $246,339 will provide a cushion against rising costs without having to resort to steps which impact school staffing.

"The biggest thing that has been the most difficult to manage, along with austerity cuts, is that our expenses continue to climb and most of that is tied to benefits and insurance just like businesses in our community.  As our revenues continued to go down, our expenses continued to go up and that led to furloughing teachers several years ago.  We cut some positions over the years and thank goodness we've been able to put some of them back. but it's been pretty dramatic on all of our school systems," Dr. Wilcox said.

"For the past several years, most of our school systems have had to run deficit budgets.  We've been fortunate enough to maintain some fund equity over these years, but this will help us offset the next deficit budget at least by nearly $250,000.  It's really a blessing.  We've been working at our budget for the past month staring at another deficit and trying to decide what cuts to make to lessen the impact of that on our fund equity.  We're just grateful for the turnaround in the economy and grateful to the governor for allocating those funds back to us," he said.

The Treutlen County school system is getting an additional $119,332 and the Montgomery County school system will get a plus up of $93,912, according to the school superintendents in those two counties.


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