Clayton County Schools Get Short-Term Help From Delta, Long-Term Questions Remain

When the state repealed its tax on jet fuel this year, Clayton County Public Schools got hit hard. One-fifth of its budgeted revenue came from the tax.

Delta has stepped in with short-term help, the school district wants to make long-term change.

Clayton County Schools Superintendent Morcease Beasley. (Emma Hurt/WABE)

Superintendent Morcease Beasley revealed this morning in a meeting with reporters that Delta is giving his district about $18 million through 2019. He said the number is contingent upon fuel prices but should end up being a bit more than the district had budgeted from the fuel tax revenue.

The State of Georgia also kicked in about $27 million in grant funding for the county to help offset the loss.

Beyond then? He said there could be more than $100 million in uncollected property taxes from Hartsfield-Jackson. Those are dollars he said his students could use.

“The airport sits in Clayton County for the most part. 3,000 plus acres are in Clayton County, but it gets no revenue from the airport? Clearly, some adults made decisions years ago that didn’t position this county favorably,” he said. “Those funds could be used to really create a world-class, high-performing school system.”

Beasley said with the stop-gap funds from Delta, the school district is fine for now, but he’s hoping for structural change.

“We need to stop making short-term decisions that negatively impact long-term outcomes,” he said.

He plans to work with political leaders and airline officials to find permanent funding sources for his schools.