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Board Approves Additional Salary Increases for Certified and Classified Staff

July 6, 2022

     On Tuesday, July 5, the Gwinnett County Board of Education (BOE) held the first of three public hearings on the millage rate adoption. In light of projected growth in the property tax digest, the Gwinnett County BOE has proposed a decrease in the millage rate, resulting in maintenance and operations (M&O) and debt service millage rates of 19.20 mils and 1.45 mils, respectively. These rates are down from last year’s rates of 19.70 mils and 1.65 mils, respectively. Funds generated by the M&O millage pay for the day-to-day operations of the school system, including employee salaries, instructional materials, student transportation, and school utility costs.  The debt-service millage is used to pay down the School Board’s long-term debt from bond referenda passed over the years to pay for school construction. The second and third public hearings will occur on July 13 at 11:00 a.m. and 6 p.m. All public hearings are scheduled to take place in the Board Room at the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Road NW in Suwanee. 

     During the open session of the special called meeting on July 5, 2022, the Gwinnett County Board of Education voted to amend its Fiscal Year 2023 budget, explicitly increasing employee salaries. The Gwinnett County Board of Education adopted the FY2023 budget on June 16, 2022. The fiscal year budget included a projected 5.1% growth in the local property tax digest based on initial input from the county tax assessor’s office in early January. The tax assessor’s office mailed approximately 294,000 annual assessment notices to residential and commercial property owners in late April. Roughly 83% of the notices informed owners the appraised value was adjusted for market conditions in response to the real estate market changes.  

     Superintendent Dr. Calvin J. Watts recommended this action to the school board to reassess the amount of the cost-of-living increase for teachers based on updated information it received regarding Gwinnett County’s property tax digest. He explained, “Recently, the district received information that the county-wide digest would be increasing close to 25%. Our district would like to earmark some of these funds to revise the teacher salary schedule to remain competitive with other districts by increasing the cost-of-living adjustment from $2,000 to $3,000. And for non-teaching staff to remain competitive, we recommend increasing the cost-of-living adjustment for other salary schedules for the fiscal year 2023 from 4% to 6%.” 

The board unanimously approved the changes; these salary increases will be reflected on the FY23 salary schedules to attract and maintain superior educators and support staff, furthering the district’s commitment to increased student outcomes. This approval brings the starting salary for a new teacher in Gwinnett who holds a bachelor’s degree to $51,646. Last year, starting teachers in Gwinnett County Public Schools made $48,646. This salary improvement adjusts the salaries for all teachers, including veteran Gwinnett teachers, by $3,000 over what they earned last year. Eligible teachers will also earn a step increase. All classified staff positions will now start at a minimum of $13.77 per hour, with paraprofessionals’ starting pay increasing to $15.24 per hour.