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Board of Education approves budget, raises all around
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It’s a good time to work for fast-growing Bryan County Schools.

The school board recently passed a $86.2 million budget for the 2020 fiscal year that includes $2.6 million in raises for teachers, media specialists, counselors and other “certified staff,” as part of Gov. Brian Kemp’s recommended $3,000 pay hike, according to a press release.

Superintendent Dr. Paul Brooksher is getting a raise, too. The superintendent, whose salary in 2018 was $199,598.29 and included an additional $2,320 for travel expenses, according to the website, will make $261,000 under a new three year contract, the system announced this week.

In a prepared statement, Bryan County Board of Education Chairwoman Amy Murphy said Brooksher earned it.

“Because our county’s continued success is of paramount importance, the Bryan County Board of Education is committed to investing in people which includes investing in the right person to lead Bryan County Schools. We are pleased to have a proven leader in Dr. Brooksher who has provided remarkable educational leadership for Bryan County Schools for the last seven years. Dr. Brooksher has led Bryan County Schools through accreditation, land acquisitions, a long- term building program and bond finance, all while keeping student achievement as the primary focus. He has also been publicly recognized as an outstanding leader. In 2018 he was awarded the Superintendent’s Presidential Award for leadership efforts that positively impact a school community. Understandably, he has become a highly sought-after superintendent, who has been invited to apply for other superintendent positions across the region and the state of Georgia.

“By securing our CEO with an improved compensation package that is comparable to other high performing school systems, the Board of Education believes we have solidified our investment in our schools and our community. As Dr. Brooksher’s contract has not been renegotiated since 2012, the Board conducted a salary study and reviewed the current salaries of highly effective superintendents. After a comprehensive review and in our desire to retain Dr. Brooksher, I am pleased to announce the Board of Education has set the Superintendent’s new salary at $261,000 and extended his contract for three years. We remain excited about the future of Bryan County Schools and look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Brooksher as our Superintendent.”

Other raises mentioned in the release are for those whose positions are up for review, and a 4 percent cost of living increase for positions which weren’t impacted by the salary review – “the fourth consecutive year that all employees have received increases,” which “pushes the teacher salary scale in Bryan County to a full 6 percent above the Georgia state teacher salary scale,” the school system said.

And, the system provides a number of benefits the release calls “employee- centered initiates that have been accomplished while experiencing unprecedented growth in student enrollment and without increasing the millage rate for the last 11 years,” the release said.

“The Board of Education should be commended for its actions as it highlights an unwavering commitment to teachers, staff and students,” Brooksher said. “This board continues to exemplify the vision of our great organization by staying focused on excellence and success in everything they do. Investing in our people is and always will be a priority for Bryan County Schools, because you can’t have a great school system without great people, and we have the very best in the business.” The release from the school board also touted other highlights from its new budget, including:

• $1.8 million for 22 new employees

• $700,000 for teacher resources

• $127,000 in start-up costs to pilot an employer- supported childcare program

• $370,000 for consumables at the new South Bryan Elementary School (opening - August 2020)

• $1.1 million for instructional technology

• $603,500 for six school buses

• $1 million for land acquisitions

• In excess of $400,000 in local capital improvements And, most important, for the 11th consecutive year, the budget is based on no millage rate increase.

Though the school board didn’t raise the millage rate this year, Brooksher has told board members he may recommend that next year, when the system opens the new South Bryan Elementary School.

During Brooksher’s tenure, the school system has gone from about 7,000 students to nearly 10,000, and during a recent forum on growth sponsored by the Richmond Hill Bryan County Chamber of Commerce the superintendent said the system could have 21,000 students by 2028 if growth continues at its current pace.

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