AUGUSTA (WFXG) - Richmond County Schools Superintendent Dr. Angela Pringle presented a proposed budget for the 2019-2020 school year to the Richmond County Board of Education Tuesday.

The budget featured pay and step increases for all employees without additional taxes. Along with increases in performing arts funding, the budget recommended a reduction in class sizes and featured a historic pay increase for teachers. Due to the $3,000 approved state salary increase, a new teacher in Richmond County will receive a starting salary of $41,114.

Teachers across the system will receive, on average, a 9% pay increase.

While the state also included a 2% pay raise for bus drivers and school nutrition employees, Pringle also recommended a 2% raise and step increase for all classified employees.

Kaden Jacobs, Director of Communications says they hope this will help retain employees. “Teacher retention is a huge goal of ours, we think we have great teachers and great schools and great students and we want to keep everybody here but we also want to bring in folks from other places that want to be in Richmond County and we’ll be happy to have them.”

Due to a federal grant, school nutrition employees will be receiving a total increase of 4%.

LPNs and RNs will receive between $1,000 - $3,000 raises based on experience.

“I am excited about Governor Kemp’s raises for our teachers, but I am also happy all RCSS employees will receive raises through the budget presented this

evening,” said Mr. Jimmy Atkins, President of the Richmond County Board of Education. “The pay increases for School Nutrition employees will help to

address their needs, as we addressed the needs of Public Safety and our Transportation employees over the last two years.”

“We are proud of the efficiencies we have been able to achieve through rightsizing and increased fiscal responsibility,” said Pringle. “This budget is a reflection of the efforts of all employees over the last few years and I am pleased to be able to recommend continued pay increases for our employees.”

Other highlights of the budget include the opening of two new state-of-the art schools to accommodate growth from Fort Gordon and the opening of a Success Center on the campus of Butler High School. The Success Center will provide wraparound services to students and families across the county and will allow the RCSS to deepen its partnerships with area non-profits.

The Cyber Academy of Excellence at the Richmond County Technical Career Magnet will be expanding in order to increase opportunities to participate in activities at the

Georgia Cyber Center and to allow for further integration with Augusta University and Augusta Technical College.

The budget also includes the Innovation Academy, a developmentally appropriate alternative school for boys and girls designed to support students who need increased structure and discipline in their learning environment.

“It’s going to be a lot more focused on giving those kids the things they need, not just academically, but the social emotional learning, the discipline, those sorts of things to really help them get back on track and be able to go back to their zone schools," said Jacobs.

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