On December 18, 2023, Governor Brian P. Kemp, accompanied by First Lady Marty Kemp, Speaker Jon Burns, and Chairman Matt Hatchett of the House Appropriations Committee, unveiled a significant boost for state employees and a commitment to enhance school safety across Georgia.
A state employee retention pay supplement of $1,000 is set to benefit approximately 112,000 state employees and 196,000 educators and school support staff. The initiative aims to recognize the dedication of these individuals who have faced challenges during the pandemic and other unprecedented events.
Governor Kemp expressed gratitude, stating, “Throughout the pandemic, a summer of unrest, and the unprecedented challenges of the last several years, our state employees have worked hard, taken on additional challenges, remained committed to serving their fellow Georgians, and become more streamlined so we can remain the best state for opportunity. This retention pay supplement will arrive during the holiday season, and it’s part of my administration’s way of showing our appreciation for all that they do.”
In addition to the employee retention pay, Governor Kemp announced the allocation of $45,000 to each public school in Georgia for personnel or infrastructure improvements dedicated to strengthening campus security. This funding is set to become a part of the yearly base budget.
Governor Kemp outlined the financial commitment, stating, “Governor Kemp’s Amended FY 2024 budget submitted to the General Assembly in January will include approximately $330 million for these one-time pay supplements, including $202 million for K-12 teachers and school support staff. The budget will also include more than $100 million to provide ongoing annual funding for local K-12 schools for school security and safety.”
This announcement follows previous initiatives by Governor Kemp, including authorizing two school safety grants totaling $185 million. Lt. Governor Burt Jones emphasized the significance of the latest commitment to school safety, saying, “The safety and well-being of our students across the state are always my top priority. I want to thank Governor Kemp for his support of significant funding for local school safety initiatives and his leadership on this issue.”
Speaker of the House Jon Burns expressed pride in the collaborative efforts, stating, “We want every child in our state to have the opportunity to learn, grow, and explore in a safe and secure environment, and this proposal will help ensure that happens. We also want to continue prioritizing our state employees who help deliver the critical services our state depends on.”
The proposed measures will be part of the upcoming legislative session, with Speaker Burns expressing optimism about working with colleagues in the Senate to make these priorities a reality.