(Part-2)  Raise pay and higher education expenditure headline Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's budget proposal

Starting July 1, public school teachers in Georgia will receive a $2,500 rise, bringing their average yearly salary above $65,000. Legislators will have to approve Kemp's $1,000 bonus, which he distributed in December, as part of the ongoing budget process. State and university employees would get a 4% wage raise, up to $70,000, in addition to their $1,000 bonus. Salary for a state employee is $50,400 on average.

The total amount of salary increases is $630 million. Kemp had already increased teacher salaries by $7,000 during his first five years as governor.

Certain workers would receive additional attention. Officers of the law in the state would receive a further $3,000 bonus on top of the $6,000 bonus they received the previous year. Additionally, those who work in child welfare would get a supplemental $3,000 bonus.

In addition to salary increases, the governor has proposed an additional $1.4 billion for public schools. Out of all the main branches of state government, that's the one that has seen the most rise in funding—nearly 12%.

In December, Kemp announced his intention to request that lawmakers establish an annual provision for school security, allocating $104 million. After decades of shifting the financial burden onto local school districts, Kemp announced on Thursday a $205 million raise for public school transportation, increasing the state's contribution to purchasing and operating school buses. Kemp is also seeking $11 million to provide a literacy screening and to hire coaches to enhance reading lessons.

Governor Kemp's funding priorities will benefit educators, students, and communities via salary increases, pupil transportation, literacy, and school safety. The Professional Association of Georgia Educators, the largest teacher group in the state, "celebrates" these announcements, according to Craig Harper, executive director of the association.

New funding has also been allocated to pre-K and colleges. In order to get prekindergarten class numbers down to 20 students again after years of 22 students, Kemp suggests that the state undo a long-standing funding decrease to the Department of Early Care and Learning over the course of four years. Kemp planned to invest $11 million for the initial payment. Public university funding was reduced by $66 million in a House-Senate debate last year; Kemp also suggests reinstating this funding.

Health care and mental health would get the largest budget increases, second only to education. There would be an increase of $118 million for nursing facility payments, $44 million for in-home care for the handicapped and elderly, and $102 million for in-home care for those with intellectual or developmental impairments in Georgia.

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